IT is absolutely amazing to hear the utterances from the T&T Unified Association (TTUTA), as well as from the Ministry of Education (MoE) regarding the incidence of Covid in a very few schools. It is said, “Intelligence leads to arguments, whereas wisdom leads to settlements.” Could this be the dilemma that the nation’s primary school standard five pupils are facing? Whilst there continues to be bickering over the past few days regarding the SEA examinations, where is the focus on the children?

Instead of TTUTA seeking to yet again postpone the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations, what has it done regarding educating parents, pupils and teachers in primary schools concerning the imperative to adhere to pandemic protocols?

It is true that approximately ten per cent of these stakeholders will breach the protocols. Therefore why should the remaining 90 per cent be penalised through postponement of SEA?

It matters not when SEA is held, there will always be ten per cent of said persons who will ignore good sense. The MoE itself seem to be peddling misinformation. If, as it states, that schools have implemented thermal scanning for fever and hand sanitising, why were the pupils who exhibited potential signs of Covid-19, not sent back home?

Parents of these children may inadvertently send their children to school but why hasn’t the school intercepted said pupils on entry?

The majority of schools, it seems, are seriously adhering to pandemic protocols, so why penalise the many for the few?

Both parents and these young pupils have been sacrificing time, effort and finances to ensure they are ready and comfortable whenever the SEA examinations are held. In normal times, both stress over good passes and placement. The current situation has placed an additional psychological burden on teachers, parents and pupils but it seems that teachers are more concerned with benefits rather than the future of their children.

SEA is just one stepping-stone to higher education, be it secondary, tertiary or vocational. The greater the delay in writing SEA, the greater the chances of impaired career development.

Agreed, the current situation is not ideal and there have been many discussions on the merits and demerits of an August 20 SEA examination date but is it more important to decry this date than to consider the children’s future?

Why attach so much importance to online learning and online examinations, regardless of the percentages of pupils who are able to avail themselves of it?

The National Primary Schools Principals’ Association (NAPSPA) is supporting the SEA pupils, so why is TTUTA so hell-bent on further exacerbating the stress on parents and pupils as there is much more uncertainty now. Pupils should not be penalised for idiosyncrasies of some key stakeholders who are charged with the responsibility of creating and propagating learning.

Where are the psychologists? Why are they so silent?

Is it that TTUTA is interested in the welfare of its teachers and not the pupils? Should SEA be postponed indefinitely because of an irresponsible few?

Teachers are intelligent enough to reassess the wisdom of their objections. Or, is it that its needs to supersede the children’s who have their future ahead of them but which is now at risk?

Harjoon Heeralal



Official recognition of the historical importance of the location where the Treasury Building now stands is long overdue. As the place that marks the spot where British Governor Sir George Fitzgerald Hill publicly read out the Proclamation of Emancipation on August 1, 1834, the site is of immeasurable significance to the history of Trinidad and Tobago.

WE celebrated Emancipation Day on August 1, but to my mind, we have not yet fully grasped the broader concept of freedom. In other words we have not, through our education system, formulated a critical pedagogy across our curricula; to foster a knowledge of self, to move beyond who we are, to transform the what- and how, to break with debilitating norms and to name our world. Inherent in all of this is the development of critical thinking skills in the learner and the learning culture.

IN the early 1970s, the Mighty Composer (Fred Mitchell) composed and sang a calypso entitled “Black Fallacy” in which he showed that many persons today and “from since in the Beginning” continue to use the word “black with a degrading twist,” to denote racism, prejudice and bigotry in their dealings with Africans and African descendants.

AS a civic-minded citizen, one piece of legislation I would like to see passed in the Parliament is one that regulates the conduct of political parties and their supporters during an election.

The insistence of the ruling party to hold the general election on August 10 in the midst of a new or second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves many raised eyebrows and even more questions. Since many restrictions or “protocols” have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus or “flatten the curve” of infections, two pertinent issues must be questioned here

I remember my deceased uncle telling me that, in the early 1960s, it was the people and religious leaders who went to Dr Eric Williams to persuade him to put the name of God into our Constitution.