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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000


Act has been requiring. What we need to do is to look again at the Education Act and see whether we can devise a kind of school board to run the government schools that would be similar to the school boards that run the denominational schools. Of course, that would mean a great deal of devolution and the granting of financial powers.

Mr. President, I believe that devolution and a realistic establishment of truly local school boards could lead to a revolution; not only in the delivery of education, but in the quality of education.

Thank you. [Desk thumping]

Sen. Mahadeo Jagmohan: Mr. President, I thank you very much for the recognition to make a short contribution on the matter before this Senate. I am worried. For the past year I am bothered how the Government Benches get so depleted at certain times of proceedings. I am sympathetic with the difficulties of the Government in respect of their full participation in debates and business of the Government in this Parliament. However, Sir, having said that—

Mr. President, there could be several aspects of discussions on this Bill before the Senate, but as you know I have a lot of regard for parliamentary time and I will be brief, Sir.

I wish to say at the outset that we are not totally against the principle of school boards for Government schools but we are saying that the time is not appropriate or the Ministry of Education, in our opinion, is not ready to institute school boards at this time. Why do I say so? I say so against the background that—it was alluded to by previous speakers—there are a number of vacancies in the Ministry of Education, and the more critical ones are in schools. Perhaps, the Minister is aware that there is a certain school in County St. George that has no principal and vice principal for about a year now. The Minister has mentioned a few times that that is the jurisdiction of the Teaching Service Commission. The Minister might be surprised to hear me say that a very important large school board visited the Teaching Service Commission two weeks ago, and the Teaching Service Commission told them that the ministry is tardy or ineffective in processing the recommendations for the school boards and having them channelled to the Teaching Service Commission. I will not belabour that point.

Mr. President, I wish to state at this time, Sir, maybe years gone by, the visit of school supervisors in schools—when they were called inspectors before they called them supervisors—were important events. It does not seem as though those visits are important events anymore. I cannot say what is responsible for this but we need to take a good look at this whole question.

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