She made the call in the wake of reports that the Education Board of the SDMS intended to prevent Gajadharsingh-Nanga from reporting for duties at the school tomorrow, although the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has instructed her to do so.
“It is time for the Mediation Board to step in and hold a meeting with the Teaching Service Commission, Ministry of Education and Education Board of the Maha Sabha,” Ramatali told Sunday Newsday in a telephone interview. The Mediation Board is chaired by Justice Vashiest Kokaram.
SDMS general secretary, Satnarayan Maharaj, was yesterday quoted in a media report as saying that the Maha Sabha’s Education Board intended to keep Gajadharsingh-Nanga out of the school’s premises. Maharaj was also quoted as saying the principal’s presence at the school could prompt a violent response from parents.
Yesterday, Maharaj maintained his position that Gajadharsingh should be prevented from entering the school’s premises. Asked to respond to the TSC’s call for her to return to the school tomorrow, Maharaj would only say, “Parents are dealing with that. Their children are involved. They will handle that. They know full well what is taking place.”
Maharaj and Gajadharsingh-Nanga have been at loggerheads since Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West MP Patricia Mc Intosh read a letter to the Parliament on November 9, in which the principal complained to the TSC that Maharaj had been instructing her to keep children of African descent out of the school. Gajadharsingh-Nanga had also requested a transfer to a government primary school. Maharaj has since denied the accusations.
Yesterday, Ramatali said all attempts must be made to promote a culture of peace and stability in the nation’s schools.
“The country is already plagued by too much indiscipline and violence,” she said.
Ramatali also regarded Maharaj as a public figure with the wherewithal to quell any situation that existed at Tunapuna Hindu School, or any other such institution. Ramatali, however, lamented that she was yet to hear the views of parents at the institution.
“The ministry must hold a meeting with the parents because I have not heard their views,” she said.
The NPTA head said according to the Constitution, parents had a right to send their children to any primary school they desired.
“Whatever happened to the words of the National Anthem, ‘Every Creed and race find an equal place’?” she asked.
Meanwhile, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Roustan Job, yesterday said the union was very concerned about the turn of events. He told Sunday Newsday that some form of protection should be given to Gajadharsingh-Nanga when she returns to school tomorrow.
“We are saying that once the principal has to return to school from Monday (tomorrow), we are saying that the law, through the police, should be there when she enters the school compound to carry out her duties,” he said.
Job said the TSC had taken its position in the matter and as such Maharaj’s organisation should abide.
“The Teaching Service Commission has spoken. I don’t know what Mr Maharaj wants to do at this stage,” he said, adding he was disappointed by the action of the Education Board of the Maha Sabha.
“We are hoping that good sense prevails on the part of Mr Maharaj’s organisation and that they co-operate with the Teaching Service Commission and the Ministry of Education on this matter,” Job said.
“They are defying the dictates of the commission. So we are saying that if the need arises, the arm of the law is there to ensure that the principal and teachers are protected.”
Gajadharsingh-Nanga could not be reached for comment yesterday, as calls to her cellphone went unanswered.