Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park was as dull as the rainy weather which pervaded yesterday afternoon in San Fernando.
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3,600 ECCE teachers needed—Gopeesingh
There ought to be no shortage of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres, since 70 per cent of the development and maturity of a child takes place within the first seven years. So said Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh as he delivered his feature address on “education, transformation and the way forward” at the Port-of-Spain Rotary Club meeting yesterday. The meeting was held at Goodwill Industries on Wrightson Road, Port-of- Spain. Gopeesingh identified the importance his ministry had placed on the staffing and construction of ECCE centres. “There will be a lot of opportunities for ECCE teachers because in total we need about 3,600 ECCE teachers,” he said.
“This morning at our strategic executive team meeting, we asked for an analysis of all those schools which require teachers or assistant teachers and to do an assessment of the population who are teachers and do not have jobs and to make sure that they come into the programmes as early as possible and as we increase the amount of schools.” Gopeesingh alluded also to the possibility of partnering with the private sector and utilising the available space at some “70 per cent of the 200 primary schools” (which he cited as underpopulated) in order to “house” some of these ECCE centres.
“We have done an analysis already of close to 200 primary schools that are underpopulated, a report is coming through on that and we have spoken with more than 250 kindergartens and nurseries so that both private and public sector work can commence from now on,” he said. In reiterating his call to denominational schools in particular, Gopeesingh said it was high time that new policies be implemented in order to deal with the “unacceptable” performance of those primary school students who fail to garner 30 per cent at the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations.