President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Antonia Tekah-De Freitas.

Government’s plan to implement a parallel system of teaching, where some students will return to their physical classrooms, has not been properly thought out or discussed with the relevant stakeholders, warns TTUTA—the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association.

TTUTA’s president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas told CNC3’s The Morning Brew show, there are many pertinent issues that have not been considered.

She argues that for the hybrid system of education to work, it must be properly planned and funded, as well as resourced and staffed, as happens in other jurisdictions.

“Teachers are hearing that as of October 1st, their students from forms four, five and six are expected to be onsite,” the TTUTA president observes. 

“But the reality is that those secondary school teachers who teach at those levels also teach the lower forms—forms one, two and three.  They also have their children who will still be at home and require supervision and education.  So, without that proper discussion and consideration for that simple fact, we’ve started off with a problem,” she points out.

Antonia Tekah-De Freitas also notes the very terms and conditions of teachers’ employment will be affected, if the current parallel/hybrid approach proposed by the education ministry goes forward.

“By saying that you’re going to have a parallel system, you are indicating the need for an adjustment to how the education professional operates, the hours in which he/she works, and therefore, the way in which he/she works,” she argues.

The TTUTA president says it will work out where teachers are doing twice the amount of work under the parallel system being proposed.

She says the teachers’ union intends to discuss these issues with the Chief Personnel Officer.