Education Minister Anthony Garcia will meet with stakeholders in the coming weeks, to discuss what can be done about the low turnout of students during the week of Carnival.
While there was a high turnout of teachers on Ash Wednesday, the vast majority of primary and secondary school students were not present.
The Education Ministry issued this statement today.
"The Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education is confirming that he will be meeting with various educational stakeholder groups in the coming weeks to discuss how best we could alleviate the spectacle of large numbers of students being away from school on the days following our Carnival celebrations.
Recently, Minister Garcia revealed that 81 percent of secondary school students and 74 percent of primary school students stayed away from classes on Ash Wednesday, whilst the majority of teachers in both primary and secondary schools attended school today with 81.3 percent in primary schools and 77.7 percent in secondary schools.
Minister Garcia said his Ministry is trying to distance itself from the phenomenon where many persons stay at home following the Carnival celebrations.
He said, “This then reinforces the notion that we do not need to be productive during Carnival week, which is not the message we would like to send to our students. Carnival celebrations end midnight on Carnival Tuesday. Additionally, we are concerned that students who stay away from school on Ash Wednesday and the preceding days will become adults who will repeat this unacceptable practice.”
The Minister commended the attendance and presence of teachers in schools on Ash Wednesday and is again asking parents/guardians to ensure that their children are sent to school during this week, as discussions continue on whether the Education Ministry will grant the entire week off.
He said, “I will be meeting with the National Parents Teachers Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association and several other bodies to determine the way forward. I will also take into consideration the national discourse on the matter.”