Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Roustan Job says the country is facing a serious literacy problem that it will need to address through specialised programmes.
Speaking before the launch of the 2012 Frank B Seepersad Memorial Teacher of the Year Award at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann's last Friday evening, Job said the problem was a long-standing one.
"We have a serious reading and literacy problem in T&T so as far as I am seeing in terms of literacy we need to tackle that and find some programmes just like they do in the United States."
Job said there were children going on from the SEA examination and primary school and continuing into secondary school with their illiteracy problems not being dealt with.
"So we can't continue to allow them to be just passing through the system and come out, that's why TTUTA is taking a serious look at it and while we have a position, we will want to put it out in the public first before we make any solid decisions moving forward," he said.
Job said as a teacher he experienced the effect illiteracy had on pupils and he congratulated and commended Paula Lucie-Smith of the Adult Literacy Tutors Association (ALTA) for the adult literacy classes she was conducting.
"But we (TTUTA) want to see more of that, more adult literacy classes around the country, to help alleviate that problem," he said.
At the launch, third vice president of TTUTA Martin Lum Kin announced that the winner of this year's award will receive $50,000 for professional advancement; one computer and printer, $10,000 in cash and $10,000 for the winner's school as well as a challenge trophy.
Teachers must be nominated for their work during the period September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2012.
The date of the award is still to be determined.