SEVERAL teachers and pupils in the Port of Spain, Belmont and Morvant communities did not report to school yesterday, which disrupted classes, but at some schools operations were normal.
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) had been urged to report to work only for the second half of the school day. On September 5, the first day of the 2022-2023 school year, the majority of teachers had heeded TTUTA’s call to stay home to “rest and reflect” and downright reject the State’s four-per cent increase in salaries.
Yesterday morning, several taxi-drivers said they did not transport a full complement of pupils to their respective schools. Some security guards advised parents to return home with their children since they would not be properly supervised. And some principals, who wished to remain unnamed, said they expected teachers to stay at home. Some principals, however, said while they reported to work all day, they were in solidarity with TTUTA’s call. “Imagine, a trained teacher will get $196 more,” fumed a principal.
In a phone interview yesterday, an official at Success Laventille Secondary School, Eastern Main Road, Morvant, said: “About 292 children turned up, and 12 teachers. So a lot of children went home early.”
At Belmont, an official said: “We had four teachers in the morning. The staff is about 18. Another three turned up in the afternoon. Only 90 from about 358 pupils turned up. We were expecting it. I think Morvant New Government had about four teachers. More Standards Four and Five children turned up. At Providence Girls’, the student turnout was lower than usual.”
At Morvant Anglican Primary School, principal Theron Joseph said: “We had all-day school. A few teachers came out for the afternoon session. A number of parents may have engaged in the call by TTUTA and kept the children home. We had a full complement of pupils. They got about the regular 167 lunches.”
Mid-term break, please
Couva resident 2020 reigning Calypso Monarch Terri Lyons did not take her son, Matthias, eight, to Couva Anglican Primary School. Lyons said: “They had sewerage problems since Tuesday. They are fixing it because the children can get sick. Teachers are doing work online.”
Offshore worker Neil Roberts, who drove to San Fernando, said he noticed there were fewer children leaving Fyzabad Composite School.
He said: “There are always a lot of children at Oropouche trying to get home. I did not see the same large numbers. There was a lot of rain and flood, which may have prevented them from attending school. When I was driving up, a lot of water covered the road.”
At Sangre Grande, a teacher said: “About 50 per cent teachers and 70 per cent pupils turned up at my school. We had a good number. It was still below the regular numbers. The teachers were protesting. The pupils may have also stayed away because (of) the inclement weather. There was less traffic on the highways.”
The teacher added: “I think there was a low turnout generally in the Sangre Grande area. When you passed the car parks in the schools, there were fewer cars than normal. I think it has been happening all week. I don’t know why. People will rest and reflect. It’s their democratic right.” The teacher also suggested everyone be given a mid-term break during the September school term since it’s the longest school term.