Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill
Tuesday, May 02, 2000
say the same thing. The principal and staff run these schools. They have a good principal, a staff and the material. This is what I am saying. The material is already in their class, they do know they have children for two “A” classes and so on.
Mr. President, over the years, these schools have developed their own reputation. This has very little to do with the school board management! I am discussing school board management now.
Sen. Prof. Ramchand: Mr. President, I wonder if the hon. Senator, given his knowledge and experience of the denominational schools, is willing to say that it is because the denominational schools are able to operate without the fetters of the ministry. So that for instance, they have taken unto themselves the function of appointing principals and vice-principals; they have invented their own structures that although they have a primary school board, a secondary school board and administrative committees for each school. They did not ask anybody’s permission to do that and it is because they have had that kind of freedom to develop a structure, that might be contributing to their success.
Sen. Rev. D. Teelucksingh: I am glad for all of these; thank you very much, Sir. What I do know, and I can tell you this, for many years now we have discovered that our schools are just like government schools, in terms of the power of the principal. Some of them say that they are Presbyterians, but they do not go to church; they have nothing to do with the church. In this sense, Mr. President, do you know how long some of us have been saying that the churches—and I am sure the Catholics and Anglicans could say the same thing— have little control over their own schools; and this is for sure.
We have a problem here. I have my own views on that and I come back to the whole business of—let us take the teachers. The teachers in the prestige schools and the teachers who are employed in the government schools went to the same university and they have the same degrees. But it is an attitude problem too, that as long as you work for the government, you are in a government system, you are in a government office, it does not matter and you do not care. This is a problem.
There are some very bright teachers in the Junior Secondary and the Comprehensive schools; you have them with their Master’s degrees and so forth. Why are the schools not performing? I have been reading essays from children in