Ian K Ramdhanie, msC,
Three unions are calling on Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh explain why there has been a reduction in security personnel at the nation’s schools. The T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), the Estate Police Association and the Transport Industrial Workers’ Union expressed concerns that there are fewer National Maintenance Training and Security Company (MTS) at secondary schools across the country.
The unions claimed they were not consulted on the issue and are concerned about such action being taken after recent incidents of violence at schools. TTUTA officials said they were told the staff cuts were necessary to get value for money. “We find this disconcerting indeed in light of the escalating violence among students as well as the constant circumstances of student bullying and larceny on school’s compounds.
“The complement of officers have been reduced from eight or six officers to three or two officers in “high risk areas,” the union said in a release. T&TUTA said it was concerned that the safety of teachers, school workers and students is being sacrificed on the altar of “cost effectiveness” to the detriment of safety on school compounds. MTS provides security and maintenance services for secondary schools. In the past few years, Gopeesingh has expressed concern about the high cost of providing school security through MTS.