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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

On page 6, under Part III of 19(1), I am interested in the Minister considering amending this subsection. It says here:

(f) by requesting the assistance of local government bodies and other agencies…”

Perhaps we should include in this other departments and agencies. There is a difference between an agency and a department, and the Ministry of Education could request service from all government departments. Some consideration should be given there.

Just after (f) on the same page, they are talking about water and electricity. It says:

(g) “by liaising with all relevant agencies in order to ensure that the school is adequately served with water and electricity;”

What about other services? What about garbage collection? That is one. What about library services; that does not fall under the Ministry of Education? What about other services that the Ministry of Local Government can offer?

I have gone through a few points and I am hoping, Sir, that if this amendment is passed and becomes law, the Minister of Education should take genuine steps in an unbiased and unprejudiced manner, to have the staff of every primary school: either the schools visited or the staff brought together in regions or educational districts, and a thorough explanation be given to them because there is great fear right now in the minds of teachers as to what this means. Does it mean that when there are members of a community on the school board, they would be looked at very closely to the extent that if they are late by five minutes one day it could be reported elsewhere that they were late by one hour? They are worried about areas like that. Well, my reaction in the first instance was, do your duty and have no fear.

In this regard, we are saying—the time is not really right for this Act to be implemented. I wish to draw to the Minister’s attention—look at the length of time denominational boards are running schools in Trinidad and Tobago, and how very well they have done. Would any consideration be given to provide clerical staff for denominational schools? The argument could be raised that one unit of clerical staff for each denominational school might be too much. By one unit I mean one person. It could be a general clerk/clerk typist or whatever it is. I simply wish to state, in this regard that the denominational schools have done so well in this country. The Minister is aware and the former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education is also aware, that a single denominational school in

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