The Barbados National Council for Parent-Teacher Association (BNCPTA) is proposing that an assessment be carried out in schools throughout the island to determine the needs of students whose parents were laid off by Government earlier this year.
President Rhonda Blackman told Barbados TODAY that the full extent of the problem would only be known during this academic year and the association intends to approach school principals in a bid to partner on the initiative.
“We need to do a needs assessment. That is only possible through the school and the principal. Going forward we are going to be asking PTAs to work with principals to identify those children who we would deem at risk or have that need,” she said.
“We have to be very careful because we don’t want the children to be identified by name. The only person that should know that information is the principal . . . We are drafting information in relation to that to send in to schools.”
Asked what form the assistance would take, the BNCPTA head said she could not be specific at this point since it would be based on the actual needs of affected students.
She urged parents who were laid off by Government and are in need of assistance for their children to come forward.
“I believe with the hard economic times there might be issues with children with school uniforms, there might be issues with books and stuff like that. I’m also cognizant of the fact that there are benevolent funds within some schools that would assist those children and we are asking parents who really have a need to ‘don’t sit back and say nothing, swallow your pride, step up’, and I can assure that the schools out there, along with PTAs, would be willing to assist once there is a genuine need,” Blackman said.
About 3,000 public servants have been laid off since the beginning of the year.