National Primary Schools’ Principals Association is recommending that the Ministry of Education softens its tone, consult as far as is possible with all major stakeholders in education.

It also called on the ministry to stop threatening principals and teachers.

According to the NAPSPA’s president, Lance Mottley, in a release, explained that the association has no difficulty in assisting the education ministry in continuing to provide for the needs of the nation’s students, “once it is within reason.”

Mottley said frankly that what the association has is “great difficulty, however, with the harsh and condescending tones that the ministry seems to prefer to use to engage us.”

“Every action has a reaction, and such tones by the MOE and its agents do not sit well with our teaching professionals,” Mottley said.

“Further, the instructions from the ministry generally tend to lack context of purpose: principals and teachers would react more positively if the purpose of these ‘requests’ are stated upfront. It appears that it is only when there is resistance, that the MOE sees it fit to provide context, but of course, not without threats. We condemn this attitude strongly and reject it outright,” he added.

Mottley went on to state that there might be the thinking among some high ranking officials that principals and teachers are at the lower end of the hierarchy of the MOE “and as such, we do not need to be consulted. Frankly, that kind of thinking is nothing short of arrogant and only serves to further the divide of ‘them’ and ‘us’.

“In this era of engagement, there is a need for genuine consultation and collaboration, and openness of purpose.”

“Perhaps, if this kind of attitude was adopted by the MOE since the closure of schools due to the pandemic, then there may not have been a need for such a directive by TTUTA. It should be noted that although many teachers would have attempted to reach out to students, they were faced with challenges as many students do not have access to the internet nor the wherewithal to access teaching-learning materials online,” Mottley said.

The NAPSPA stated that like everyone in Trinidad and Tobago, principals and teachers are very well aware that these are not normal times facing the country, “and accept that the response from everyone to this pandemic, therefore requires adjustments to the way we do business; it is definitely not business as usual.

In fact, many of our principals and teachers would have put things in place to engage students remotely as much as was possible, even before the Ministry of Education got involved.”

It added that this noble act speaks to the level of commitment and dedication to education by the teaching Fraternity, “but most of all, a recognition and understanding that these are unusual circumstances that require all hands on deck.”