Garcia: More teaching, less textbooks
The Education Ministry is currently looking at ways in which it can reduce the heavy load placed on students’ backs as many have raised concerns about the number of textbooks students have to carry to school each day.
At a media briefing at the Education Towers on Tuesday addressing a range of school-related matters, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said students are overburdened by the large number of books they are made to log around every day.
He expressed concern over the students’ physical well-being as he said the weight of these large texts can lead to physical problems.
“Apart from a potential injury to their physical structure, it does not augur well when we have children being forced to go to school with so many books.”
Garcia attributed this burden placed on students as a heavy reliance on textbooks and testing as opposed to teaching and learning.
“We have come up with the view that there is an overemphasis on the use of textbooks rather than the actual teaching in our classrooms.”
He said the Ministry will move to ensure that greater emphasis is placed on teaching and less on testing by moving away from the reliance of textbooks as a teaching tool.
Garcia said discussions have begun with the Curriculum Department to lessen the number of books that students are made to carry on a daily basis.
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) and the National Parent Teachers' Association is expected to be engaged on the way forward on this matter.
The Minister indicated that efforts will also be made to ensure that teachers have the necessary skills, training and materials to carry out their teaching duties.
Meanwhile, Garcia also identified an imbalance in the genders of teachers. He said there are far more female teachers across the board than there are male teachers, especially in primary schools.
He made it clear that it was not to say that female teachers have not been doing a good job, but that it was the Ministry’s view that male students require more male teachers to act as mentors in the absence of positive male figures at home.
“We are looking at ways and means whereby we can ensure there is almost an equal balance of male and female teachers, particularly in our primary schools so that our male students will have positive male figures.”
Garcia believes that the addition of more male teachers in the education system will see male students turn away from a life of wrongdoing.