Antonia Tekah De Freitas
By Chantalé Fletcher
TRINIDAD and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Antonia Tekah De Freitas says education recovery was more than placing students back into schools.
“Do not use us as pawns in the vaccination game and do not deny our students equity in the access to education,” she said.
Speaking at the Annual District TTUTA Convention on Friday, De Freitas message was from this year’s World Teachers Day, “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery.”
She said, “Education Recovery must be more than simply putting students back into schools and trying to pick up where we left off before the pandemic hit.
“At the heart of education recovery, at the heart of learning recovery must also be a commitment to support educational professionals, not only with the necessary resources and infrastructure but also by keeping morale high.”
De Freitas said, “Whether educators in T&T were expected to deviate from the United Nations conventions of the rights of the child or deviate from the convention against discrimination in education, and if these polices really demonstrated equal and equitable education for all.”
She stated that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation boost productivity.
“So, fix our business, the increments that have been owed to persons as many as ten years, fix the upgrades of persons awaiting appointment of 15 years, fix the medicals, transfers, the ECCE teachers and bring them onto the system, fix the situation at COSTAATT and establish the facility senate so the college can produce a high quality of education learning that we desire, and then the nation will have motivated educators.”
De Freitas demanded that educators be treated with respect and dignity.
She said, “Pay us our just wages, do not leave living on wages from 2014 and the employer will then have motivated employees.”
In addition, she also called for a safer work environment and efficient resources to aide in their functions and performances of the students.
De Freitas said, “TUTTA believed that education professionals must be the heart of education recovery.”
She said a project called Auditing Education Equity established by Education International (EI) in light of the covid-19 pandemic, could be used as a roadmap by educators.
De Freitas said, “As a rationale, EI suggest rational audits are systematic assessments of levels of inequity and the extent to which they are exacerbated by existing priorities.
“Lack of equity is one of the pernicious barriers to achieving the universal human right to quality education. However, as inequities deepened, as inequalities are made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, additional resources and support for educational staff and institutions are urgently needed to address them.”