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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Now, the point has been made that the denominational schools on the whole perform better than government schools and, therefore, one possibility in explaining this difference may be the presence of school boards in the denominational schools. To my mind there are so many other differences between the two systems that I do not think that the difference can be attributed, if there is a difference—which means that the denominational schools perform better—and I am not convinced that this is the case in many instances. It may be in some but I am not convinced that this is the case and certainly nor am I convinced that the presence of school boards is what makes this difference.

However, I would address the Bill and the regulations and make some particular points, apart from my general view that I think there should be more flexibility in the appointment of the boards. If there is not going to be that flexibility then I think one has to take a serious look at the composition of the boards, which may be appropriate in some circumstances but not in others, or alter the composition in such a way as to give the flexibility for them to be appropriate in more than one government school circumstance.

With respect to the Bill itself, as I said I would have liked to have seen clause 23 giving the Minister power to appoint or not appoint in his or her discretion. With respect to clause 7, which addresses section 26 of the original Act, I cannot see the reason for the deletion of paragraph (j), in the original Act, which reads, with respect to school supervisors:

“dealing with all other matters of organisation, management and administration as may be referred to him by the Minister;”

Incidentally I might also ask the question, if the original Act says that school supervisors are appointed where there are no committees or, now, school boards, why have we left in anything about school supervisors at all? I wonder if the Minister—if I could attract her attention? [Laughter] I wonder if the Minister, if I could attract her attention—[Interruption]

Mr. President: Minister of Education, I think the Senator wants to attract your attention.

Mrs. Persad-Bissessar: My apologies.

Sen. Prof. J. Spence: I just hope that in your winding up you would give some explanation—or, if you would like to give it now I would be prepared to give way—as to, if the creation of school boards applies to all government schools and the original Act suggested that supervisors would be appointed if

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