President of the Catholic School Board Sharon Mangroo described a meeting with the Ministry of Education on Monday to discuss the reopening of schools in September as fruitful and said the board is open to dialogue with the ministry.
In a brief phone interview with Newsday on Wednesday, she said the meeting with Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian was “cordial, as usual.”
She said, like other education stakeholders that attended the meeting, the board indicated the time that they had to review the document was short and as such more in-depth responses would have to be given at a later date.
The ministry issued a draft of the reopening of schools for the academic year 2021/2022 on Friday prior to Monday’s meeting. The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the National Primary Schools Principals Association (NAPSPA) called the short notice of the meeting “disrespectful,” and chose not to attend Monday’s meeting.
“That is not our approach,” said Mangroo. “Our approach is dialogue. We (told the minister) we did not have sufficient time to go through the document as we would like to, but we did have initial comments which we were happy to give.
“We are open to dialogue. We will meet and talk. What TTUTA does is TTUTA’s business. It is a union. Its constituency is different to mine.”
The ministry will have another meeting with stakeholders on Friday, including all of the denominational school boards.
Mangroo said stakeholders were updated on Wednesday about Friday’s meeting and given a compilation of all the suggestions put forward by attendees on Monday.
She said the Association of Denominational School Boards will also provide a document that represents all the boards within two weeks' time, as they all have similar interests.
“We are (also) aware that the minister needs to act early because if she has to get cabinet approval for anything there is a time limit involved.”
Se said, “The one thing the boards are firm on is that we are in support of any position for the child’s safety.”