Saturday 18 November, 2017

Teachers complain of student indiscipline, poor working conditions

Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago are hampered from doing their jobs efficiently due to rampant student indiscipline and other issues.

This is according to President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai.

Doodhai made the comment during a teachers' convention on Friday. The convention was held in celebration of "Month of the Teacher" under the theme "Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers".

Doodhai said teachers in this country cannot teach in freedom or feel empowered partly due to indiscipline in secondary schools, where teachers are verbally and physically abused by students.

Adding to this, he said teachers continue to work under poor conditions in schools that have infrastructural shortcomings, an overcrowded curriculum and a woeful lack of resources.

"Can you imagine that we are ending the fifth week of the new academic year and some schools still do not have Students' Attendance Registers?" he asked.

He added that unresolved payments of salary arrears and other benefits contribute to a general feeling of frustration and demotivation in the teaching service.

Doodhai said parents also pose a problem as some are not involved in their children's education or do not cooperate with teachers.

The TTUTA President also slammed the Ministry of Education's "lack of consultation and disrespect" when implementing new policies.

"Can you imagine that a fundamental decision such as the change of date of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Examination was made without any consultation with TTUTA?" he questioned.

"While TTUTA is not averse to initiatives aimed at improving the education system, we will strenuously object to those initiatives that are not carefully thought out and systematically implemented to ensure that all the necessary infrastructural and resource support are in place."

Doodhai said the Ministry of Education must not be allowed to take teachers for granted.

"They must recognise our worth which is endemic to successful education systems. We are not political footballs to be kicked around. We are professionals and hard workers with valuable contributions for ensuring the successful outcomes of education."

He said TTUTA was ready and willing to partner with the Ministry to plan a way forward for education in T&T.