Browne: Migrant children may be integrated into local schools

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne. – File photo/AYANNA KINSALE

GOVERNMENT is looking at including migrant children in the local primary-school system, says Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne.

He spoke at a breakfast meeting at the Hilton Trinidad, Port of Spain on Thursday hosted by US Ambassador Candace Bond.

Browne said the Education Ministry was working with “key stakeholders” towards this integration, “ideally in the upcoming school year.”

He added that no decision has been made as to how and when this would happen.

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly subsequently confirmed this.

In a WhatsApp message to Newsday, she said, “This is currently being discussed between the Ministry of Education and the Catholic Education School Board.”

Browne met with the education working group in April to discuss the issue.

The group’s stakeholders include: the Catholic Education Board of Management; Living Water Community: Education Ministry: the Pan American Development Foundation; the UN Children’s Fund; and the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR).

In May, RC Archbishop Jason Gordon told a parliamentary joint select committee there is “more than enough” room in denominational schools to accommodate registered Venezuelan children.

Gordon said the Catholic Board was fully prepared to begin receiving these children, but nothing could be done until the relevant state authorities grant approvals.

During a visit to the La Romaine Migrant Support group (LARMS) at the parish hall of St Benedict’s RC Church in La Romaine in May, Bond said the US is willing to help find ways to educate migrant children and stands ready “to help the Government of TT make that a reality.”

She said the US and other international partners have had discussions with Government on the topic.

In TT, Bond said, the US and other members of the international community continue to support various groups who help provide migrants and refugees with basic needs, including education.

LARMS was established in 2019. One of its objectives is to provide educational opportunities for migrant children who are unable to attend school.