DENOMINATIONAL school boards are offering mixed views regarding the two days of "rest" called for by the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).
In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Ishmael Mohammed, first vice-president of the Anjuman Sunnat-Ul-Jamaat Association (ASJA), said while they respect what TTUTA is doing, they were not in favour of teachers taking days off.
"We prefer that teachers come and teach the children. They are responsible for creating productive members of society and we just don't support this mass type of absenteeism," he said.
Mohammed said while there are several teachers at ASJA who are members of the union, they have been warned about staying away.
"Besides, our teachers are not really supportive of that. We may have one or two teachers in our schools that are members and try to encourage others, but our schools are first-choice schools and it's because of the level of discipline that we have adopted and we ask our teachers to adopt that same form of discipline."
Mohammed even called on TTUTA to adopt methods that would not disrupt classes.
"We understand that TTUTA needs to take a stand, but they should look at other ways to show their discontent," he said.
Sat Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), added that they too often advise teachers not to stay away.
"We have full respect for what TTUTA is doing, but from the reports that I am getting our teachers came out. In fact, we have more teachers than students because from what I understand, parents have kept their children home, but the teachers are out," he said.
Colin Allahar, general secretary of the Presbyterian primary school board, said it was up to the teachers whether they wanted to support the call or not, but they "usually support TTUTA in what they do".
Chairman Manan Deo said it was evidenced by the attendance.
"We did a survey and what we have found is that where there is a high percentage of teaching staff, like 50 per cent, there is a low percentage of students. And where there is a high percentage of children, there is a low percentage of teachers.
"In some cases there are schools with 40 per cent teachers and students. And in my view normal school operations cannot continue," he said.
Meanwhile, Hillview College reported 100 per cent teacher turnout.
Preysal High School said that 246 of 712 pupils stayed away, while 29 of its 43 teachers failed to turn up for classes.
Other schools that were affected by the lack of teachers include Trinity College and Holy Name Convent.