Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Gopeesingh warns school principals: Don’t make parents pay for extra books
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh is going after the school principals who are asking parents to spend money on additional textbooks, especially after the Government has spent $124 million to provide students with texts from their booklists for this academic year. “We have been checking to determine which principals have created undue pressure to our particularly poorer parents,” he said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters after a ceremony in Couva for newly-appointed school safety officers, Gopeesingh said the Government purchased textbooks on the basis of recommendations by teachers and principals, so there should be no instance where parents are asked to buy additional textbooks. “We have had to call all school principals and ask them for their booklists that they have given to their students,” he said.
He said the ministry was checking to determine why parents have to buy multiple textbooks for one subject, when principals and teachers were the ones who chose the relevant text in the first place, which the Government has already provided for students. “Every textbook, every subject, in our school system has a textbook purchased by the Government, and therefore no parent should have been made to buy another textbook for any subject.”
He said the only subject that may have an exception would be literature. He added that an additional $40 million was being spent to replace textbooks that were defaced, lost or destroyed through wear and tear. “Parents ought not to have to spend the amount of money that they been asked to spend in the past...it is not acceptable,” the minister said. Gopeesingh said each principial must provide parents with a comprehensive copy of the booklist, indicating which books were already bought by the Government.
“When on a yearly basis we are hearing of students and parents having to buy thousands of dollars in textbooks, that is not necessary at all,” he said. “This is where we at the ministry are checking and double-checking and checking to make sure the process has not been abused.” Asked about reports that publishers had not been paid for the books, Gopeesingh said the ministry had some difficulty in paying off the $33 million outstanding, but was working on it.
He said Cabinet released about $40 million to pay outstanding publishers. “I think it’s almost there.” He said the Education Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance, and he believed the situation would be resolved “very quickly so that publishers will be paid their remaining balance that was owed to them.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.