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Zena Ramatali re-elected NPTA president

Sunday, November 10 2013

Zena Ramtali, re-elected as president of the National Parent Teacher Association, NPTA for a sixth consecutive term, is vowing to tackle urgent problems plaguing the education sector.

Ramatali has been at the helm of the Association since 2001 but served therein for the past 25 years in other capacities.

Speaking with Newsday following her re-election as president at the 53rd annual conference of delegates of the Trinidad and Tobago National Council of Parent Teacher Associations Inc held at La Romaine Secondary School yesterday, she called on both the Ministry of Education and the Teaching Service Commission to address the issues plaguing education in the country.

Among her list of concerns were schools that have continued to remain closed over two months into the September term.

“It is unbearable that some schools continue to remain closed especially when a large percentage of the affected children come from the lower end of the socio-economic ladder.

I want the Minister of Education to have a plan for repairs and construction of schools,” she said. Turning her attention to delinquent teachers and principals Ramatali noted that students at a Port-of-Spain secondary school will have to re-write CAPE because the teacher (s) failed to submit the School Based Assessment (SBA) papers. She also wants the Ministry of Education to look into the problem of teachers signing the register and leaving students unattended. The newly elected NPTA president is also urging principals to properly manage their schools.

“Some of the principals are not managing well and they leave everything to fall apart and then push the parents in front to protest.

In fact, some of the parents even blame the NPTA and ask what we doing about it, but we are not in every school,” she said. Ramatali is advising principals to send in their request for repairs early so they could be dealt with and alternative accommodation provided early.

Calling for greater accountability in managing finances allocated to schools, Ramatali said secondary schools get over $1million each year to cover expenses and she is puzzled as to how the money was actually spent.

Ramatali also called on the Teaching Service Commission to be more selective in appointing school principals and supervisors.

“ I am calling on the Teaching Service Commission to stop appointing recalcitrant principals as supervisors because they were not good managers in the first instance so they are ill suited to the post . They have no relationship with the staff or the parents , so they will now have to start from scratch.”

She said qualifications alone should not be the basis for appointing school supervisors.

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