Minister of Education, Emmalin Pierre has confirmed reports circulating in the country that the ministry is making moves to replace the principal of the Mt. Pleasant Government School on the sister isle of Carriacou, Emma Williams on grounds of inability to properly manage the affairs of the school.
The minister said that this decision stemmed from the decision of the principal to change the uniform of the school at the beginning of the school year in September without the proper authorisation from the Ministry of Education.
Speaking on a popular social media programme on Monday, the female government minister said that attempts to have the principal go back to the original uniform were futile as it appears the decision is solely in the hands of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA).
Members of the PTA along with teachers and students took to the streets in Carriacou on Monday to protest over the imminent removal of the school Principal by the Ministry of Education, citing that she has often gone beyond the call of duty to lift the standard of the institution.
Minister Pierre sought to lay blame on the uniform issue at the doorstep of the school principal.
She said: “What the Education act says, what the law says is that for a school to change its uniform it must have written permission from the Chief Education Officer (CEO). We reminded the principal of this and the principal indicated that she is fully aware and that they intended to write to solicit permission from the Ministry of Education.
“The letter did come and the letter came from the PTA and she was reminded that a letter like that cannot come from the PTA – the PTA does not run the school, the principal runs the school and so the ministry would have responded to the principal, reminding the principal of what should happen and what should not happen.
According to Minister Pierre there was chaos on September 3 at the start of the new school year as students showed up wearing different uniforms.
The Education Minister noted that the apparent control the principal has given to the PTA over the affairs of the school has not gone unnoticed, and as such the Public Service Commission (PSC) was contacted to remove her from the position.
Minister Pierre said: “The ministry is firm in its position, the order in the school must be restored, there is uniform and students of that school must be using that uniform. The ministry has indeed written to Public Service Commission asking for replacement of the principal in light of the conversation with the principal.
“The conversation with the principal…more or less convinced us … that she is not able to lead the school at this time as it relates to the whole issue of leadership and the management of the situation at the school. In other words, the Parent Teacher Association based on conversations with the principal is dictating what happens and doesn’t happen at the school.
“…As a matter of fact, when the ministry would have written to the principal asking to restore order, there was a circulation of a note at the school to students asking whether or not the directive of the ministry should be followed and this is totally unacceptable.
The move against the school principal is coming at a time when the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) is resorting to a limited form of industrial action to protest government’s decision to renege on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering pension payment for public officers.