Saturday 5 December, 2020

TTUTA, Ministry to meet over teacher upgrades

The Education Ministry is expected to meet with representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) in two weeks’ time to discuss upgrading the status of some teachers.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia made the revelation while speaking with reporters during a demonstration held by members of TTUTA outside the Education Ministry on Friday.

He explained that some teachers who have finished their courses at tertiary level have not been upgraded from Assistant Teacher to Teacher status.

The problem, he said, arose out of issues with the curriculum offered at teaching colleges, namely the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).

“We have had concerns in some particular years as to whether these teachers who are coming up have the requisite content knowledge to teach.

So, to sort of get past that problem, we have the institutions design what we call bridging programmes. So if we think that you are deficit in a number of areas, we have you go back and do courses to up your content.”

Minister in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis said larger discussions will take place on that matter, but so far, the bridging programmes have been used to ensure that those hired as educators have the requisite knowledge and competency to teach.

He said the Ministry has a responsibility to ensure that students have access to quality education.

“We are not going to allow people who have not the competency to teach into the classroom because that will be a dereliction of duty on our part.

We have to ensure that those we hire to teach have the competence and the ability to teach and that is something that we take very seriously and guard very carefully.”

Francis said he could not give a number as to how many teachers are affected by the issue with the upgrades, but assured that it would not be a figure in the thousands.

“I don’t want to give an arbitrary number but an accurate one, but it’s not going to be thousands, maybe hundreds or less than a hundred. But it’s not to say that’s not significant.”

“Any teacher that is aggrieved by not having an upgrade is significant,” he said.

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