Twelve schools, 11 in Trinidad and one in Tobago, yesterday failed to reopen for classes due to incomplete infrastructural works or the lack of road access due to land slippages caused by flooding towards the end of last year.
This number was disclosed to the Guardian Media by president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Martin Lum Kin.
However, this figure contradicted what was given by an official at the Ministry of Education (MoE) who wished not to be identified. The official said only two schools failed to reopen and that there were no other “major incidents to report.”
The schools which failed to resume, according to the ministry official, were the Carapichaima West Secondary School and Fanny Village Government Primary School.
“At Carapichaima, there were incompletion of works and at Fanny Village, investigations were still ongoing into a fire and we’ll have to await clearance from the fire officials before its reopened,” the ministry official said.
However, Lum Kin challenged the ministry figure.
“The ministry has not really given the true picture as to the amount of schools being affected and not reopened and there are some ongoing issues, infrastructural issues, that the ministry has not addressed and it is running into a matter of years,” Lum Kin said.
Asked if TTUTA had gotten any feedback from the ministry as to when the schools will be reopened, Lum Kin said, “No. The information that we have, based upon the responses we would have gotten from our district officials, we have not had the opportunity to speak with any of the Ministry of Education official as to when these schools will be reopened.”
He added that there are some schools that will remain closed for the rest of the week.
Lum Kin said the schools that weren’t reopened and some that were partially opened would have resumed classes online in the interim.
However, he added that TTUTA is “concerned that the MoE officials are encouraging ad-hoc online engagements at a number of schools.”
“TTUTA reiterates the point that online engagement is subject to the negotiation and agreement with the recognized majority union, TTUTA,” Lum Kin added.
Lum Kin, however, noted that TTUTA stands committed to hold the necessary talks with the MoE and the Chief Personnel Officer.
Efforts to reach the Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly for comment were unsuccessful yesterday, as calls to her phone went unanswered and she did not respond to WhatsApp messages.
Schools which did not reopen due to either infrastructure issues or impassable roads yesterday:
- ↓Cascade School for the Deaf – Completion of repairs and sanitation
- ↓Don Miguel Hindu Primary School – Sewer issues
- ↓Las Cuevas Government Primary School
- La Fillette RC Primary School
- ↓Blanchisseusse Government Primary School
- ↓Blanchisseusse Secondary School – Collapsed Road since November 2022
- ↓Carapichaima West Secondary School – Unsafe prefabricated building
- ↓Brasso Venado Government Primary School – Landslips affecting accessibility
- ↓Caratal RC Primary School – Access road is unsafe
- ↓Fanny Village Government Primary School – Fire during the vacation
- ↓Morvant Laventille Secondary School – Collapsed fence, repairs ongoing
- ↓Scarborough Secondary School – Ongoing infrastructural work