Member of Parliament for Couva South the Honourable Rudranath Indarsingh is today expressing his total disgust with the Ministry of Education and Minister Anthony Garcia over the daily closure of the Couva West Secondary School which has been since schools re-opened last Monday for the 2019-2020 school year.
Indarsingh said that it is clear that Garcia intended to mislead the Country when he hosted a Media Conference last Friday (August 30) and gave the assurance that all schools will be opened for the new academic term on Monday 5th September, 2019.
While Garcia did identify Couva West Secondary as having issues with “water leaks,” Indarsingh said that this was not a new problem and remedial work should have been done during the July/August vacation.
Instead, on a daily basis, there is sometimes one to two hours of classes in the morning and then the Principal has no option but to close the school and send home the 770 students and 57 Members of Staff.
Does Minister Garcia understand the implications of having just an hour or two of classes daily for the last week?
Does Minister Garcia understand the absolute frustration that the Staff are facing, having planned their daily schedules and having same interrupted for five consecutive days?
Does Minister Garcia understand the financial burden on the parents of these students who have been forced to pay for their children’s daily expenses of attending schools, yet they have not been able to spend even a complete day in the entire week in their classroom?
Does Minister Garcia understand the implication and absolute injustice of having some of the younger students literally on the streets of Couva and surrounding areas without any proper parental and other supervision?
Many of these working parents are being scolded by their employers who must seek time-off to pick up their children and some are even being threatened with disciplinary action, all because of Anthony Garcia’s sheer incompetence and lack of management skills.
Indarsingh said that his Constituency Staff have reported that there are two major leaks at the school, one in the front of the main building and the other near the water pumps which means that the pumps cannot be turned on.
Indarsingh said it is absolutely unbelievable and astonishing that the Ministry of Education was aware of the issue of leaking pipes and have waited for it to become a full-blown problem. Yet after one week, there is no firm commitment that the repairs to the plumbing system will be completed over the weekend and allow for a full resumption of classes on Monday September 9. Will staff and students continue to have daily classes for a couple hours next week?
Indarsingh said he understands that the Principal has been frustrated and annoyed with the situation and has been doing her utmost best to get the situation resolved.
He said that he sympathises with the Principal who must deal with irate staff, students and their parents and it’s quite unfair to her since these problems are not within her control.
Indarsingh said that as the MP for Couva South, the Principal has always been a most cordial and dedicated Administrator and Leader in the Community.
Indarsingh said that he was recently informed by a former Staff Member that equipment for the Industrial Technical Department, worth between $2 M to $3M has been sitting idle since it was acquired some years ago. He said he was advised that the equipment has not been used as it needs commissioning for it to be functional and further, is not aligned to the vision to develop students who are not academically inclined and will excel in the sphere of Technical/ Vocational education.
Indarsingh said that he is saddened and alarmed that this Administration seems not to understand that in order to give children in our education system the best chance in life, they must invest in equipping them with a broad and adaptable skill set that will best prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead. This begs another question- how many other schools are being used as storage facilities for multi- million-dollar equipment, instead of having them functional and readily available for used by our Nation’s Children?
He said that while he was speaking about the issues at Couva West Secondary, they are applicable to all the other schools in the Country that were either not opened last Monday or was opened and had to be closed because of the Education Ministry’s failure to ensure their readiness.
Indarsingh said that for the past four years, this Minister of Education, like all other Members of the Rowley-led PNM Administration, has been a colossal failure and needs to reassess his continued presence in the Ministry of Education.
Indarsingh urged the Administration, in its last few months in office, to remove the political agenda from the Country’s schools and ensure that all our leaning and teaching institutions are provided with the resources they need to be functioning effectively so as to ensure a better environment for our most precious assets and resources.