Education Minister: Schools will be ready for new term

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kimberly Akhumaa checks the fit of shirt on her son Anthony while assisted by employee, Shivanee Bridgelal, left, at Naipaul’s bookstore, Arima on Saturday. – ROGER JACOB

EDUCATION Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly is confident that everything is in place for the reopening of the new school term on April 19 (Tuesday), which will see all students return to in person-classes for the first time in two years, since the covid19 pandemic began.

Gadsby-Dolly was recently diagnosed with covid19. She said she was recuperating well at home.

Asked about the readiness of schools for the new term, she said, “Most of the over 700 schools from ECCE (early childhood care and education) primary and secondary level are in a state of readiness at this time.”

“There are a few schools where emergency repairs were undertaken and are ongoing. Most should be complete by Tuesday.”

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre on March 26, the Prime Minister announced the full reopening of schools among a series of measures aimed at relaxing many covid19 restrictions that were in place for the last two years to prevent the spread of the virus.

Last year, the gradual reopening of physical school focused initially on students in forms 4-6, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Consideration was given towards reopening for lower forms 1-3 in January.

Asked if the ministry would be relaxing the requirement for school uniforms for the start of the new term, similar to a recent announcement by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Gadsby-Dolly said, “This has been the official policy of the Ministry o Education since 2021, and it continues into this term.”

In a statement on April 1, acting Chief Education Officer Lisa Henry-David said for the duration of the academic year, principals are to guide parents on what would be acceptable deviations to school uniforms.

Last week, THA Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett said the assembly will relax the school uniform requirement for students returning to classes in Tobago in the new term.

Manager of Metropolitan Book Store Brent Cassim said many people came to the store on Saturday to shop for books and stationery for their children for the term. Many were shopping around and pricing items. Cassim said booksellers are doing what they can to assist parents.

“We try to do our part.”

Cassim said some things are out of their control. He cited the cost of stationery as an example.