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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

[SEN. JAGMOHAN]

County Caroni got seven passes in the first 50 of the 25,000 children who passed the Common Entrance Examination. A school in the Minister’s constituency got three in the first hundred this last time.

My argument is—denominational schools and the government schools are doing extremely well—in this regard, that consideration be given for clerical staff; not only clerical staff, but other facilities such as typing, computer and, perhaps, fax as well.

Mr. President, having said these things it is my hope that the Minister will look at these suggestions broadly, and take steps to make amendments or initiate measures to help denominational schools, as well as government schools.

I thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President: Any further contributions?

Sen. Dr. Eric St. Cyr: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I think the basic idea behind this amendment and the school board is good, in that it aims to involve some community support and some advice to the principal in the operation of what I understand to be government primary schools.

I have a few difficulties with the proposal as it stands. The first difficulty I have is, I can foresee the encroachment of the proposed school board on the professional dimension of the school, which is in the hands of the principal and the teachers. I could easily see the board, which is not a professional—it is a lay body so far as the school goes—getting into matters in the school which are properly professional. I think that is a likely difficulty, and I wonder whether we have thought through that matter.

4.00 p.m.

The second difficulty I have is that I could foresee some confusion arising from the proposal as it stands. I could take a very simple one, clause 5.3, which states:

“The Minister on the advice of a majority of the members of the Board may revoke the appointment of a member.”

I could see that we could set up the members of the boards there to be in conflict with each other and moreso where small stipends are attached to membership and so on. So, I have that as a difficulty. But I believe that my main concern is with the relationship between the boards’ functions and the functions of the principal and the teachers in discharging the educational function.

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