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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000


talking about regional educational districts. In the same way that there is a School Improvement Programme where the school gets $90,000 to improve things, they are calling these grants SIP, as if they want to indicate that what they are giving you is a little ‘sip,’ a paltry $90,000 to obedient Principals to improve their schools. I do not like these abbreviations.

The regional educational districts are being proposed to replace the divisions that are authorized by the Education Act. Instead of educational divisions you have educational districts. Now, I feel that is a significant change. Linguistically if you move from division to district you are talking regionalization. You are not talking about an administrative convenience called divisions or categorization, you are talking about district, you are talking about location. Whereas we have had eight divisions before, there is one in my opinion, misguided, proposal that we should have three districts in Trinidad and one in Tobago to cut it down from eight to four.

The Coopers and Lybrand Report had suggested five or six, but a general principle that I feel should operate in the creation of these educational districts is to remember that we have regional health authorities and we are doing a kind of regionalization. As far as possible, we should constitute regions and then say, “Well, this region is the same region for health as it is for education; this region will have a big central post office, it will have a big bus depot—every region; this region will have a set of central Ministry of Education offices which would liaise with the other bodies involved with education in the region; this region would have a whole set of Red House material which we will move from Port of Spain into the region”, et cetera.

If you are going regional in education, you have to consider regionalization in other areas and see to what extent we can get together and allow these different regions to coincide. Maybe we can get the boundaries to coincide for everybody. I do not know if it can be done but certainly, before we go into the numerical thing of five or six or four or three or one, we should think of that. The Coopers and Lybrand Report recommends five or six and it says that it believes that we should go for a district based management model. This is elaborated as follows, Mr. President. This is from the Coopers and Lybrand Report.

“Each district will require a fully equipped headquarters with phones, fax, duplication equipment, photocopiers, computers, vehicles, storage and distribution capacity, security and general administration service, messengers, drivers, administrative officers and clerks and should have a resource centre where training and development activities and large meetings are feasible. It

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