Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Principals association on non-repair of schools: Gopeesingh passing the buck
The National Primary Schools Principals Association (NAPSPA) has criticised Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh for blaming them for the failure to repair some schools, which remained closed at the beginning of the term. NAPSPA president Lynsdley Doodhai accused the minister of making principals scapegoats, saying such negative comments only served to further demotivate and demoralise them.
Calling for a more collaborative approach among stakeholders to improve the education system, Doodhai recommended proper planning and preparation to avoid a repeat of the current problems. He also recommended adequate funding for principals to do minor repairs in a timely manner and the assurance that repairs would begin during the first week of the vacation and cease a week before reopening.
The minister has blamed principals for either failing to comply with the rules of the ministry and the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) in order to have school repairs done or submitting their requests for repairs late.
“The NAPSPA notes with great concern comments attributed to the Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh in one of today’s daily newspapers. The minister makes a feeble attempt to place blame for the non-reopening of several schools on the shoulders of principals. By his comment, the minister is attempting to paint all principals as derelict in their duty and as such, responsible for this fiasco,” Doodhai said.
Doodhai said the chief education officer of the ministry asked principals in May to submit requests for repairs and they complied. Some even received acknowledgement letters from EFCL, Doodhai said. He said in early August some principals received calls from a consultant saying he was going to visit their schools to prepare the scope of works for repairs to be done.
“In many schools, repairs started mid-August and some as late as one week before re-opening,” Doodhai said. Rejecting the assertion that principals were to blame for this fiasco, Doodhai said, “NAPSPA denounces this attempt by the minister to pass the buck on this issue from the ministry and EFCL and to make principals scapegoats in the process.” Doodhai called on Gopeesingh to put systems in place to ensure such an unacceptable situation is not repeated.
He also called for genuine and meaningful consultation to be held with stakeholders, including principals and TTUTA, greater oversight and vigilance in order to ascertain the quality of work done is of the highest standard.
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