Tuesday, February 20, 2018

No siblings, so no school entry

I would like to bring this situation to the attention of the Minister of Education. I live in Mafeking Village, a small community in Mayaro. This community has been blessed to have the Mafeking Government Primary School within its catchment area.

My son as well as many other children from the village have now attained the age of five to enter into the primary school system. I registered my child during the stipulated registration period. So did other parents.

To my shock and disgust, I was informed by the principal of this school that my son did not meet the criteria for entry into the school. According to the principal, “the main criteria is that your child must have a sibling(s) already attending the institution”.

Mr Minister, had I been aware of this criteria, I would have dismissed the concept of family planning! According to my limited knowledge:

A student is admitted to a primary school when he/she meets certain criteria as follows:

1. The student’s parents reside within three kilometres of the school.

2. The child has attained the entrance age of five years.

I live within walking distance of this school. Other schools from distant communities are turning me away, stating they are giving preference to children that reside within their catchment areas.

This is not only upsetting but extremely wrong. It seems that my son is being denied access to a primary school education. When he looks at me and asks, “Mom, why am I not attending school?”, I would have to answer, “Son, it’s because you don’t have a brother or sister”. It seems like education in Trinidad is not as accessible after all.

Mr Minister, please help!

T Adams