Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan yesterday gave the assurance that primary and secondary school students will be provided with proper supervision and safety should teachers boycott classes next Friday.
Seecharan was responding to calls by the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) for teachers to stay away from schools on September 7 as a day of rest and reflection in a show of solidarity with Petrotrin workers.
The country has over 15,000 teachers. The Joint Trade Union Movement has also called for a day of rest and reflection.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia, in an interview with Guardian Media Ltd on Wednesday, said his ministry will open all schools despite TTUTA’s planned action.
Garcia also asked teachers to remember their responsibility to their students.
He could not say if teachers could face disciplinary action for staying away butadded that if it comes to that he will speak to the Chief Personnel Officer.
Yesterday, several calls to Garcia’s cell phone went unanswered. But Seecharan reminded citizens that this was not the first time TTUTA had called for a day of boycott by teachers.
If teachers do opt to stay away, Seecharan said all schools have measures in place to deal with such event.
“The ministry has clear protocols in the event that some teachers stay home that arrangements are made to ensure that students are adequately supervised.”
Should there be a mass boycott, Seecharan said each principal knows what his/her responsibilities are and protocols must be initiated.
“There is a middle management team at the level of the school so that the teams will assess the situation and make decisions in terms of supervision and safety of students.”
He said there are 134 government and government-assisted secondary schools, while there are 455 primary schools in T&T.
The ministry also places students in private secondary schools.