Former minister: Garcia's removal 'long overdue'
Garcia on Wednesday addressed the nation regarding his plans for the education sector, which included treating with the incidence of violence and bullying in schools. He defended initiatives in place to treat with these issues, saying that only some schools were having problems with violent behaviour by students.
Gopeesingh, however, criticised the Minister’s address stating that he “placed his rank incompetence and uselessness on full national display on Wednesday evening in a woeful address to the nation”.
He said Garcia’s address focused only on incidents widely reported by news media and neglected to mention conflicts which would have been dealt with by principals, teachers and Parent-Teacher Associations, and incorrectly indicated that harassment and fighting were on the decline at the nation’s schools.
Gopeesingh claimed that under the Minister’s “torturous tenure” to date, there has been major regression in the sector, with crippling cutbacks in the provision of vital services, amenities and other resources.
“Not surprisingly, there has also been a decline in the academic performance, from the unprecedented achievements of 2014 and 2015,” he added.
The former minister further stated that Garcia disbanded 23 specific measures instituted by the prevous administration to counter schools bullying and other acts of violence.
“Those steps included the employment of 700 professionals in the Students Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education. The experts included counsellors, guidance officers, social workers, and clinical, behavioral and education psychologists.
Schools-Based Management teams were also established, along with other targeted groups, to provide crisis management, mediation and other essential forms of assistance.”
Gopeesingh said urgent and focused attention on school bullying was needed from a competent and caring Minister of Education.
“Mr. Garcia’s removal is long overdue,” he concluded.