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Ministry sees 'smooth reopening' of schools

By Julien Neaves

ALL systems are go for the reopening of schools for the new term next week, according to the Education Ministry.

"Everything is in place for next week('s) reopening of the new school term," reported Ministry media relations coordinator Yolanda Morales-Carvalho.

She stated in an e-mail to the Express that repair works have been taking place over the holidays and further repairs, if required, will be conducted outside of school hours.

Davanand Sinanan, vice-president of Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), told the Express that the Ministry informed the union that "all systems are in place for a smooth opening on Monday".

On the issue of repairs, he noted that only when teachers go out to school on Monday will TTUTA receive feedback whether the repair work that was to be done during the vacation period "was in fact done".

"As far as the Ministry of Education is concerned, the assurance has been given to us that all is well and we therefore will take them at their word and, of course, hold them accountable."

One project that was scheduled to take place over the vacation period was the construction of a new block of classrooms at Diego Martin North Secondary.

Parents at the school had complained that their children had been put on a rotational system because a block of pre-fabricated rooms had become dilapidated and unusable.

The block was demolished in October and the following month Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh toured the school together with Ministry officials, Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley and Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne.

During the tour, Gopeesingh told the media that the new block of classrooms was scheduled to be constructed before the new term this month.

Questioned yesterday about the status of the new block, Morales-Carvalho responded that construction "continues as scheduled".

Sinanan noted that at some schools more work has to take place and, as Morales-Carvalho had informed the Express, it will be done outside school hours so classes will not be disrupted.

"So we are really hoping all is well and when our teachers and students return to school on Monday the teaching process can resume without any disruption."

He said if they get reports from their members on Monday they will make the necessary representations to the Ministry and the national community.

He also took the opportunity to wish TTUTA members and students "the best for 2013".

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