Antonia Tekah-De Freitas

The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is urging parents and other education stakeholders to manage their expectations as the new school term unfolds.

TTUTA President Antonia Tekah De Freitas said several challenges have arisen during last week’s orientation.

“We have expressed issues about timetabling because the time table now obviously cannot be the same virtually as it was in the physical environment”, she told Guardian Media during a telephone interview yesterday.

She added, “We raised another concern about leave because there are so many educators who may have been impacted by the virus and may be in quarantine or self-isolation.”

These issues, the TTUTA President stated, were raised during a meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer last week and during a discussion with the Ministry of Education last Thursday.

De Freitas said the association expects solutions in the coming weeks as well as better cooperation with the ministry through a joint sub-committee.

In the meantime, she assured teachers will do what is required of them but, asked that all stakeholders manage their expectations. She said, “We must all acknowledge as a society that we simply cannot transpose what is obtained in the physical environment into the virtual realm.”

The TTUTA President also suggested that students be assessed frequently so that educators will be able to identify the needs of each child during virtual learning.

Planning continues next week to ensure a smooth start to the official virtual engagement of teachers and students on September 14.

Meanwhile, Education Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, said apart from the issues raised by TTUTA, no complaints were brought to her attention.

In response to questions sent by Guardian Media, the Minister said the needs of each school will be dealt with as “efficiently” as possible so as to facilitate their transition.

Dr Gadsby-Dolly confirmed that some schools commenced teaching this week while others have indicated their readiness for a September 7 start. The Minister noted that a reporting system has been instituted to ensure the progress of all schools can be monitored.