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TTUTA happy with budget allocation for education

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


While the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) welcomes an increase in the 2012/2013 budget from that of the previous year, it is hoping a large chunk of the money will be used to fix primary schools and upgrade teachers’ salaries. TTUTA’s vice president, Davanand Sinanan, said it was a good indication that the allocation for education in the budget presented by Finance Minister Larry Howai in Parliament rose from $8.7 billion last year to $9.1 this year. In his address to Parliament, Howai said Government intends to build human capacity in a comprehensive manner and there will be focus on curricular development, teacher training, new teaching methodologies and in particular technology.
Sinanan, who said TTUTA was happy that Government recognised education as a top priority in the thrust of national development, added, “It shows we are seeking that kind of commitment to the development of human capital.”  Saying there were no specifics given as to how the sum would actually be allocated Sinanan called for the immediate restoration, reconstruction of primary schools and an increase in salaries for teachers. “We have to examine the supporting documents to determine how the money would be spent. But first on the agenda is the provision of adequate resources and there are many primary schools in need of repair and these schools have been left neglected for some cases the physical plant is just not good to provide quality education and we have seen evidence of this by the number of protests staged by parents at the start of the new school term,” Sinanan added.
On the issue of salary negotiation, TTUTA met last Friday with Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Stephanie Lewis and is expected to meet again this Friday. Describing the meeting as unproductive, Sinanan said he hoped the final stage of the external market survey would be finished so teachers could get their upgrade. “Once the survey is completed then we can set the proper grade of pay for teachers but the CPO does not want to complete the last stage and we are fed up of going to meeting after meeting and there is no productivity coming out of it,” Sinanan added. President of the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) Zena Ramatali, who agreed more details must be given on how the money would be distributed, said there was no mention of early childhood centres. “We hope the money would be allocated where is it supposed to be allocated...While the Ministry of Education is getting more money than last year, we hope the money would be spent wisely, because we have some schools as old as 50 years,” she said.


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