On this “Dress” Code for teachers

TeacherTHE EDITOR: I can NOT believe that a new dress code for teachers is an issue. Really?! Wasn’t the existing one clear-cut enough?

Be that as it may, if true, it is welcome. Welcome in the sense that it serves to illuminate some of the elephants crowding the room that conservatives and the wilfully ignorant among us – i.e many of the over-40 age group – have no intention of discussing. You see in the wording of current guidelines (and no doubt the new one) there is a distinct gender bias, but that’s apparently okay with many people, including radio talk show hosts and their callers.

I mean, I totally agree that there must be some level of decorum in the classroom and so on; cool. But if nothing else, this “issue” is yet another one that exposes how uncritically many in this alleged Republic accept and adhere to old, colonial-era ideas about the corrupting influence of human, particularly non-white, and ESPECIALLY Black female bodies and sexuality. It shows how many still believe that the best way to deal with this is to simply cover up and to no doubt police by shaming. To do anything else would mean undertaking activities that would expose young people to the volumes of researched information about human sexuality and perhaps the real origins of the sexual and “modesty” codes we inherited in 1962. In other words, they’ll be taught the same sex-ed/HFLE that is currently being held hostage by certain religious bodies, although T&T is supposed to be a Republic.

To a somewhat lesser extent, this issue will bring up the question of what it means to be properly dressed, even for men. It is so galling that 54 years after changing flags, 40 years after becoming a Republic, “proper” men’s attire is still gauged by European (default) standards; jackets and ties are still insisted upon in some spaces. Up to now, we (well, except Gerald Yetming, Wade Mark and the late Chief Servant) lack the inner confidence to adopt local modes of formal dress that is conducive to a tropical environment and insist that everyone else respect our damn decision.

So, bring on the new dress codes for teachers and happy Republic Day.

Corey Gilkes
La Romaine

3 thoughts on “On this “Dress” Code for teachers”

  1. While colonial enclaves remain affixed to outdated, impractical habits and practices related to dress and educational content and delivery the Europeans themselves have adapted, modernized and instituted more current and relevant cods of dress and educational practice.
    In T&T a dress code is the least of the problems in the education system.
    The problem with Mr. Garcia, Minister of Education, is not only related to the Laptop change in policy, but also to the barrage of regressive policies ushered in since the PNM victory.
    He began by falsely parading a public relations stint disguised as a public forum on education, which turned out to be a series of public announcements by the PM and others to rationalize the devious and regressive changes which he was planning to introduce as new policy. No opportunities for public input were ever provided at any of these forums.
    The first stumble was the major mistake of eliminating the continuous assessment program and the removal of physical education, music and creative arts as legitimate programs and criteria for entrance to secondary schools. He claimed that he had the support of parents and teachers. In fact, this regression made teachers’ jobs easier and satisfied the rote learning with which middle class parents are so enamoured. This traditional move sent the education program decades backwards.
    Next, the Gate program changes which are going to affect the education goals of a significant percentage of the population were draconically imposed. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. The termination of full funding of tertiary education for new students, students already enrolled and senior citizens will deprive many of an education and create a legacy of student debt, a problem which many countries are trying to resolve.
    Now we are faced with this new announcement of the discontinuation of the laptop program, probably the most regressive and ill conceived step. The advantages and benefits providing laptops are well documented worldwide. Numerous research and experimental projects have collectively and emphatically provided evidence of the positive benefits of laptop computer use in secondary schools and classrooms.
    The Minister’s rational and justification for his decision are the most contentious and disappointing aspects of his tenure so far.
    He made the following false and uninformed claims:
    Laptops are ineffective.
    Most schools do not have internet access
    ICT support is not present in schools.
    There are no computer labs in secondary schools.
    HP and Lenovo laptops are inferior.
    All of these claims are false.
    The Minister does not stop here. He goes on to terminate needed school construction and to freeze the establishment of early childhood education centers.
    Minister Garcia was once an educator in times gone past. He should resign or be fired.

  2. “Minister Garcia was once an educator in times gone past.” TMan.

    Yeah TMan, but that was in an era, when ‘money was no problem.’ Now he is in the Political kitchen , and is feeling de economic recessionary , post PP squandering heat, eeeehhh?
    To not take some stringent fiscal actions , would make him just as irresponsible , as that inept weasel, Dr Gopiesingh , he replaced.
    Tell you what TMan,we will live with Mr Garcia, as long as he does not also try to get his quasi educated, girl friend ,a big government post , like your much adored boy Gopie did.
    We could endure Mr Garcia ,as long as he too does not have an out of control , closet criminal , illegitimate son, who enjoys planassing citizens on de streets, as they eat unhealthy cuisines, destined to expand de waistlines- then jump like a typical coward, into the lap of papa , to protect him from becoming the male -prison wife ,of some 7ft , by ’12 inches,’African Mandingo.
    We’ll tolerate Education Minister , Mr Garcia ,as long as he too doesn’t try to intimidate whistle blowers , for trying to expose the racist policies , of a religious / pro education elite , who enjoys accepting state funds to service tribal school,then blatantly discriminate ,against innocent kids , of different races.


    It is because of folks like yourself Principal Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga, why I still have any semblance of faith , in this underachieving country,and so , unlike ‘perpetual do nada – whiners / paid operatives ,’such as this TMan , I would like to play my role, in being a difference maker, as opposed to- behaving like a typical, grade school ignoramus,( which he obviously is not)while doing idiotic comparative analysis ,between our T&T, and more industrialized, Northern fiefdoms.
    Last we checked on Principal Sita, we heard that TMan more noble Minister of Education , was doing the bidding of his principal guru Sat Maraj, and was trying to get her fired .
    Short of dat , they had promised to ship her off to some rabid ,African outpost in say Never Dirty Morvant, Toco, or is it Icacas, where she won’t unduly tarnish the delicate minds ,of future HINDI speaking, Hindustani Scholars.

    Give it a rest TMan , and let the new Dr Rowley government find it’s way-now that oil prices are what, $25 per barrel ,a drastic fall ,from the $300 it was, when your political lightweight, still clueless, Siparia Queen Karma, took over in 2010, from , arrogant , PNM nut job Manning, and co PM Hazel?
    You know Tman , if I was a betting hombre, I bet that you have some stake in this Laptop PP,food eating ,cross venture, and so is highly perturb , that it was eliminated, by this new regime.
    Good riddance, I say!
    If parents wish for their kids to have Laptops , let them purchase it themselves. As for Gate subsidies . Enough already! If an adult wishes to go back to school, to finish their education , then pay for that yourself.
    The first week your PM came to office in 2010 , she lectured our Caribbean neighbors , that T&T , is no long an ATM machine, and so cannot willy nilly , carry CARICOM blokes on her country’s back.
    Well , the PM in charge alos believe , he cannot fund the full fledged opening of the Couva Hospital , or build 300 more schools, in much the same way , your tribal party ,felt justified , in scrapping the OVP , Border patrol ships, to save a few hundred pennies.
    Now, if voters don’t like that , then come local and general elections, they’ll respond accordingly.

    Again folks , de gall of this selectively outraged guy! His former PM made Goppiesing – a glorified Doctor- her Minister of Education, as opposed to Health.
    In five years ,the nepotistic PM, made some 190 , out of 195 state trips, to countries across the globe, but likewise ,got 190 medical checkups , in said ,far off distant lands, en route to these opaque, unnecessary visits ,with her highly paid, eat ah food sister ,in tow.
    If one of our coward journalist today ,ask this female political comedian, she’ll probably still claim, how much she care about the nation’s health, but just like Patrick Manning, didn’t visit a local health institution, no matter who begged them, so to do.
    For de record folks,in typical pro tribal fashion, he TMan, was silent like a Cumuto mouse ,during his PM’s extravagant forays, but today- surprise, surprise, is getting all bent out of shape ,about State initiatives- or lack thereof, re , education, as if he care.

    Enjoy the long walks , for the next 2 decades ,into the political wilderness, mi country hating Pizzano, for that’s the penance you and the tribe must pay ,for the atrocious stewardship ,as unleashed on this country , by your leaders.

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