School bell rings at Baptist school
Tuesday, September 4 2012
FOURTEEN years of waiting ended yesterday for the Shouter Baptist community as their very first primary school officially opened its doors to staff and students. The St Barbara’s Shouter Baptist Primary School in Maloney opened yesterday with 50 students and 12 teachers.
Archbishop Barbara Burke who fought to get the school said she was very happy to see what the Baptist community has been dreaming about for years. She thanked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and Dr Tim Gopeesingh for all their help in getting the school.
Panday granted the land for the Baptists while Persad-Bissessar promised them last year that a primary school would be built. She said she knew education took people out of poverty and that was her main objective in her struggle to get the school.
Burke said there was a time when members of the community tried to get jobs as teachers and they were always advised to go to the school board. She admitted it was painful for her and others to see other boards with schools and the Baptist community had none.
“I feel elated I feel joyful in my soul because it has been 14 long years we have been waiting for our own school. It was painful and embarrassing. So today is a Rred Letter Day in every Shouter Baptist’s life to see that we can accommodate our own teachers and our own little children,” she said.
The school so far has 105 students enrolled and 14 teachers, Burke said the Teaching Service Commission has appointed a principal but while they wait the school supervisor will act in the role in the meantime.
The school was constructed in seven months at a cost of approximately $29 million. The first phase completed in March while the second phase was completed a few weeks ago
Speaking to reporters at the school Gopeesingh said the ministry has constructed 29 Early Childhood Care and Education Centres and 24 would be completed by December with 26 to begin construction in a month’s time. They have also constructed 11 primary schools and ten others are under construction.