Parents: Ministry dragging its feet to assist deaf pupils
SOME parents of hearing-impaired pupils are reporting that, five days into the new school term, their children cannot learn because they have not been provided with promised interpreters.
"The children have started school and they are lost in the system," said Mervyn Lovell.
His daughter Dominique is one of three hearing-impaired girls that have started school at El Dorado West Secondary.
Lovell reported that the principal of the school did not initially want to register the girls without an interpreter being hired but eventually allowed them to register. He said the three girls were now sitting together in a class with no idea what is happening.
"Just sitting there in classroom and the teacher teaching and they have nobody to interpret what the teacher saying to them," he added.
He said that Student Support Services head Steve Williams, who recently retired, had promised before the school term started that there would be interpreters, but that promise had not been fulfilled.
Lovell noted that up to Thursday representatives of the Education Ministry have been telling them that they are in the process of interviewing interpreters, but this has been "the same story for two or three months".
"We come back to the same thing we have been facing two months ago."
Qushiba La Fleur, spokesperson for the parents, said they are "very frustrated" and has questioned where are the systems to assist pupils with special needs.
She noted that they needed a total of three interpreters—two for the three girls going to El Dorado West, one for El Dorado East and one for Woodbrook Secondary.
La Fleur said her son Jason, who is hearing-impaired, is being assisted by a resource teacher at South East Government Secondary.
Both an official of the Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired and Ministry of Education media relations coordinator Yolanda Morales-Carvalho have said that the problem is getting qualified interpreters.
Lovell and the other parents, however, believe that the Ministry is "dragging its feet" and it is their children that are being made to suffer.