Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh is urging parents, teachers and children to do their part in making the education system better as the new school term starts today.
In a statement yesterday, Gopeesingh said Government is committed to the continued improvement in the education system since education remains the mainstay of the nation's continued path to progress and prosperity.
"But we cannot succeed without the cooperation of all of our parents, teachers and students. We suffer a crisis in parenting at this time and the time has come for you to recommit to your duties and responsibilities to your children. You must make a commitment to be engaged in all of your children's activities, especially in their education."
Gopeesingh called on parents to ensure their children are always well supervised and to subject them to boundaries and discipline. He also asked parents to build stronger bonds with their children by talking to them about their lives, their problems, their interests and their emotions. Ensure they are well supervised at all times, he said.
He applauded the close to 16,000 principals, vice principals, heads of departments, deans and teachers for their dedication but also called on them to recommit to what he described as "the very noble task" that they are entrusted with as educators.
"We seek a reduction in teacher absenteeism and better academic performance among our students, especially in their literacy and numeracy skills. Many children today come from dysfunctional backgrounds, making your tasks as teachers more important and more powerful."
Gopeesingh called on teachers to teach the nation's children with inspiration, love, caring and dedication to make the country a better place.
The Education Minister urged the nation's 250,000 students in the early childhood, primary and secondary schools of the nation, to be mindful that they are benefitting like no other generation in this country has ever had and to make use of it.
"You therefore have a duty to your parents, your teachers, your fellow citizens whose taxpayers' dollars fund these benefits, your country and especially yourselves, to excel at your school work, be respectful, disciplined and diligent, with the aim of one day serving our nation as dedicated, hard-working citizens," Gopeesingh said.
He added that, over the past two years, the Government has completed construction of 29 Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres, with 24 more expected to be completed by December, and the commencement of 26 more centres by this month.
"In addition, we have completed construction of 11 primary schools, with another ten under construction, as well as completed construction of four secondary schools, with eight more under construction.
He said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's promised free laptop for every child entering secondary school will see approximately 55,000 students and 4,000 teachers provided with a free laptop by the end of September.