The Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education and other Ministry Officials met with Ms. Marina Walter, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago at the Ministry’s Head Office in Port of Spain on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Ms. Walter, who commenced her appointment last November, indicated that she was in listening mode and offered her organisation’s support in advancing the Education agenda in Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister Garcia indicated that the Ministry currently collaborates with UN agencies in several areas and his Ministry is appreciative of the support. These include the Health and Family Life Education topic taught at primary and secondary schools; the drive to promote healthy choices and lifestyles at school; as well as sensitization sessions conducted by the Ministry’s Student Support Services Division to raise awareness among children for safeguarding themselves from exploitation and abuse. Acting Chief Education Officer, John Roopchan reiterated the value of these collaborations citing the need to have a global perspective of the issues and working with others to partner in finding solutions and applying best practices.
Leveraging the support of the UN Volunteer Programme, Permanent Secretary, Lenor Baptiste-Simmons indicated the Ministry’s renewed interest in accessing resource via this agency to advance initiatives currently on the agenda concerning institutional strengthening. The Ministry also expressed interest in accessing available grants to fund specific projects with deep long-term benefit.
Private sector collaboration was another topic of discussion. According to Ms. Walter there are untapped opportunities available through such cooperation including outreach in schools, establishment of skill centres and other training/internship opportunities. Minister Garcia highlighted existing partnerships that have augured well for students, which include the state’s collaboration with the church.
Another meeting will be convened shortly to include representatives from the UN Agencies to discuss plans for moving forward.
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