COSTAATT to take over nursing education programme

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly – File Photo

THE Ministry of Education’s nursing education programme will now be offered by College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT).

A release from the ministry on Friday, announced the move.

The ministry said the move had been approved by Cabinet. It said a transition team had been established.

“The focus of the transition team will be the welfare of the students currently enrolled at the Nursing Education Unit, ensuring minimal disruption in their education pathway.

“In addition, they will make recommendations for all human resource matters, and the rationalisation and/ or harmonisation of courses across both institutions.”

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said “the transfer and disestablishment of the NEU will be gradual to ensure no disruption in the delivery of courses currently being delivered by NEU, and the efficient transfer of students records to COSTAATT. This is our priority.”

Acting permanent secretary Simone Williams will chair the transition team. At a meeting on Friday, the unit’s manager Jocelyn Clarke provided a broad term of reference for the transition team. A similar meeting followed with representatives of the COSTAATT, led by vice president Academic Affairs, Dr Naseem Koylass, and Nursing, Health and Medical Technology dean Anjenney Dwarika. The COSTAATT team indicated its commitment to the smooth transition process, as obtained in 2023 when COSTAATT absorbed nursing students formerly registered to pursue study in the NEU.

Education Ministry permanent secretary Jacqueline Charles expressed confidence that all stakeholders involved would collaborate in the best interest of all nursing students, and the wider nursing sector.

The transition team will comprise representatives from the Education Ministry, the NEU and COSTAATT. The principals of the NEU have committed to meet with all students to provide further clarifications and details about this transition process. The Education Ministry said it looks forward to a smooth and successful process, in the best interest of all.

In response to the announcement, the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) said it was a “bitter-sweet victory” for the association.

“When we started this journey eight years ago, to ensure nursing and midwifery personnel are treated no differently from every other category of healthcare professional, few thought we would have achieved our goal.

“However that goal has now been achieved in 2024, with sustained lobbying, and pointed legal action. Many may not realise the importance of this day, but all are set to benefit tremendously in the future.”

The association thanked the minister and Cabinet for “taking this tough but necessary decision.”

In September, last year, the ministry had been barred by the High Court from enrolling new students in its nursing and midwifery schools.

This came after the TTRNA obtained an injunction from High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan against the ministry and the minister pending the determination of its substantive judicial review lawsuit over the legality of both schools.