Education stakeholders, including newly-appointed Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, met virtually yesterday to discuss the start of the new school term in September, where the nation’s students will continue their Home-Based Learning.
The Ministry was tight-lipped after the meeting, saying only that discussions had been held on different issues relating to the start of the new school term.
The release said the stakeholders discussed devices, connectivity, broadcasting of lessons, guidelines for teachers, the orientation of new students, guidance and support for students and parents, conversion of resources for students without digital access and those with disabilities and the School Feeding Programme.
But in an interview with Guardian Media yesterday afternoon, president of the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA), Clarence Mendoza said the Ministry pledged to provide 500 box lunches in each constituency for children in the School Feeding Programme.
“The meeting was fabulous, a breath of fresh air,” Mendoza said.
“The minister clearly stated that the school feeding programme will continue but in a different manner- where 500 students in each constituency will be fed on a daily basis if it has to be added to that, it will be.”
He said the NPTA requested that the 2021 Secondary Entrance Assessment be held in August next year.
“We also asking for all other exams to be held in the months of July and August,” he said.
And while Mendoza said Gadsby-Dolly had given no assurances this request would be met, he was confident that his suggestions would be considered.
On the issue of the provision of laptops and tablets of students who do not have access to them for the online learning platform, Mendoza sent out an appeal to corporate T&T, asking for assistance to provide the devices.
“That is still our concern as a country for our children, we are also looking at corporate Trinidad to assist, to assist the government, the parents and our children with the necessary laptops or tablets,” he said.
When contacted for comment, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) said they will issue a statement on their position.