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Gopeesingh, TTUTA talk education

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh and an executive team recently met with executives of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) to extensively discuss matters relating to education and its development and to continue building a mutual understanding. Gopeesingh presented TTUTA with the list of the ministry’s priorities and also discussed the creation of new teaching jobs. 

According to the minister, 3,600 ECCE teachers will be required within two to three years. He also gave his commitment to address the issue of permanent and contract ECCE teachers and regularisation of their status. TTUTA was presented with the environmental report on Biche High School that supports the opening of the school for the next academic year. TTUTA also raised issues about individual schools, which were referred by Minister Gopeesingh to the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) for immediate action. Also discussed was the change in legislation for schools to be compulsory from ages three to 16, instead of five to 12 as is currently the case. 

In this context, TTUTA was requested to submit a list of recommendations and suggestions in terms of educational reforms to be implemented in the education system. Detailed discussions on the way forward to strengthen the School Based Management for more effective and efficient school administration, as reflected in the ministry’s strategic plan, were also held. It was also agreed to tentatively hold meetings the third Tuesday of every term, in addition to the monthly meeting currently taking place between TTUTA and the ministry’s permanent secretary. Gopeesingh, however, expresses his interest in meeting with TTUTA at least twice during the school term. 

The minister took the opportunity to emphasise his desire to maintain open dialogue as he renewed his invitation to TTUTA to participate in the National Consultation on Primary School Curriculum, with a series of consultations to be held at each of the seven education districts, as well as Tobago. He indicated the continuation of this exercise would convene to discuss regularisation of extracurricular activities in schools by external parties to ensure they did not negatively impact on students’ classroom instruction time. TTUTA was also invited to assign a representative to sit on the National Council for Early Childhood Care and Education which would comprise members of the Ministry of Education, private sector and universities, among others. 


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