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TTUTA President Antonia De Freitas

If teachers are to adhere to the suggestion of Education Minister Anthony Garcia to use the school compound to meet with students to assist them with their School-Based Assessments (SBA) then proper sanitation and cleaning of schools must be done.

So said Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas as she reiterated their position against the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations being held next month.

TTUTA is calling for the exams to be held after schools reopen in September to allow teachers enough time to engage with students and for the students to complete their SBAs and Internal Assessments (IA). TTUTA held its general council meeting on Monday, and according to Tekah-De Freitas: “The union has agreed that we are maintaining that position. We do not feel that it is in the best interest of all the children to rush to do the CSEC examinations and the CAPE examinations in July. There are SBAs to be completed. There are internal assessments at the CAPE level to be completed.

“Some of these take time and it is not an excuse, teachers and students were not delinquent. In some instances, it is simply because the type of activity was time-consuming and because of the closure time did not permit.”

Commenting on Education Minister Anthony Garcia’s request for teachers to assist students with their SBAs, she said teachers have been doing that all the time. The minister encouraged teachers to use the school compound for “face-to-face” meetings between June 7 to 30, but with no more than five people at a time.

“If the minister is saying schools are ready to receive students and be repopulated, TTUTA would expect the Ministry of Education to liaise with the Ministry to Health to ensure proper sanitation is done.”

Noting that schools have been closed for two months, she said proper maintenance and sanitation must first be done.