PRESIDENT of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Martin Lum Kin is insisting that the union will not support any online teaching at this time.
Lum Kin explained it is in dialogue with the Ministry of Education over a policy on online engagement.
“We have not completed that process or signed off on it. In the absence of that policy we cannot support an ad-hoc online engagement.”
Before the opening of the school term, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said 180 projects which were attempted during the July/August school repair programme were too extensive to complete. This left students from at least four of these incomplete projects unable to attend school physically.
In those cases, arrangements for a hybrid mode of teaching and learning were approved, with exam studies being accommodated physically while other students were to be engaged virtually, she said.
Lum Kin visited the Caratal Sacred Heart RC School, Gasparillo, where the parent-teachers association (PTA) protested over inaccessible roads leading to the school on Friday morning.
He cut down a suggestion for online learning at this school, saying it has proven to be deficient.
“TTUTA does not agree with online teaching at this time. It is one of the excuses that the ministry is looking at in order to have the schools back up and running,” he said in an interview with the media.
Pointing out that this method was previously tried during the pandemic, Lum Kin said it brought with it a barrage of problems which still existed, including students' inability to access devices or internet connection, while some students chose not to log on.
“That would keep back our students,” he said, pointing to feedback from some students in the first week of the new term on the difficulty of accessing Wi-Fi.
“If the teachers go ahead and teach, what would happen to students who did not have access?” he asked. “When they come back to physical teaching, teachers would have to bridge that gap once again, or they may have to reteach what was done before.
“Let’s get it done right the first time,” Lum Kin suggested.