…touts introduction of education-focused community groups
There is an urgent need to revitalised Parent-Teacher Associations [PTA]. This is the view of Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, who has asserted that “this [revitalised PTAs] for me is key.”
The Minister intimated, “I have believed right from the beginning that without active and energetic PTAs we are not going to succeed. Education cannot end at the school gates and children are left after that; nor [at] the bus park and everything that happens there [as they] go back home.”
The Minister is convinced that it is particularly important that the PTAs become fully involved in the education process. “I would really want to see PTAs established and the community-based concerns about education be addressed.”
To achieve this goal, the Minister said that there should be, in every single community, a kind of education group that examines what happens in the school system. “Getting the full community involvement in what it is [the education sector] is attempting to do [is important]. They have expectations and they have special needs. We have to make sure that we are in touch with them,” said Minister Roopnaraine, with reference to the communities.
The Education Ministry cannot operate in isolation and thus must be able to relate to those within the communities, he said.
“The Education Ministry cannot be remote from all of the issues that are in fact holding back the development of the country. I think the more we advance in the education sector, the more we have to get our schools operating the way we want them to operate. The more we can diversify the experience at school the more we will be able to energise the children rather than exhaust them,” posited Minister Roopnaraine.
Once focused effort is directed to the education system, the Minister is confident that “we will be well on the way to producing the kind of education sector, the kind of education system that the country needs if we are going to further advance.”
He continued, “We have a great deal of work to do. There is no doubt at all but the Education Ministry is one of the biggest Ministries in the country. It has its own demands and these are demands we have to meet.”
But according to Minister, there has been no lack of support in the sector. “I want to salute my education officers throughout the country who have been working diligently…and I know a lot of them are working in conditions that are less than optimal.”
The Minister also commended the work of head teachers and teachers for working in conditions which he described as challenging a lot of the time.
In the drive to further improve the sector, Minister Roopnaraine said that moves will be made to implement recommendations of a recently completed Commission of Inquiry [COI] in to the education sector.
“My hope is that in a year’s time when we meet again we will be able to report to you that most of the findings of the COI recommendations have been taken up by the Ministry and we would have executed the recommendations. That is what I would like to be able to report at the end of a year.”
Since taking up the portfolio of Education Minister, it has been Dr. Roopnaraine’s mantra “to get education right.”
According to him, “if we don’t get education right, we will not get anything else right. It is as fundamental as that. And I think people have listened and the COI that we have established…will give us the kind of base information that we need to improve the sector.”