School closures up to 33
By DARCEL CHOY Wednesday, September 5 2012
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MEN AT WORK: Workmen continue repairs yesterday to the Marabella Anglican Girls Primary School, which was one of several dilapidated schools which did...
The number of schools which did not open on Monday has grown from 19 to 33, and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) expects the closures to continue.
The schools were closed due to various issues, including infrastructural problems, bat and pigeon infestations, sewage problems, and paint fumes.
TTUTA’s first vice-president, Davanand Sinanan, in a telephone interview yesterday said the increased number of schools, was not surprising.
“This is as expected given the number of schools that were not repaired during the vacation, and we expect the list to continue to grow as we get feedback from members,” he said.
The schools include San Juan South Secondary, Morvant AC, La Lune RC in Moruga, Princes Town East Secondary, Palo Seco Secondary, Plum Road Presbyterian, Oropouche RC, La Pastora Government Primary, Tacarigua Presbyterian, Maracas Presbyterian, Diego Martin North Secondary, Laventille Girls Government, Malick Secondary, Carapichaima AC, Tableland AC, Rio Claro Presbyterian, Santa Flora Government, Five Rivers Secondary, Malabar Government Primary, San Fernando Boys RC, Marabella Boys AC, Marabella Girls AC, St John’s AC, South Oropouche RC, Cascade School for Deaf, St Crispin’s AC, Speyside Secondary, St Gabriel Girls RC, St Theresa’s RC and Febeau Government Primary.
Crystal Stream Government Primary in Petit Valley was later added to the list after parents notified Newsday of its closure.
Parents of students in the first and second year classes demanded answers from the Ministry of Education after they were told there will be no school for their children for two weeks.
The parents were told by school officials on Monday that the classrooms were filled with slush and mud after floods invaded the school three weeks ago. When they questioned why the school was not cleaned immediately, they were told the Ministry of Education approved a company to do the cleaning only last week Thursday.
A few parents who called Newsday yesterday and spoke on condition of anonymity, said they could not understand why it took so long to get someone to clean the classrooms.
“They had three weeks to deal with this, and nothing. Did they not think how this will affect the students? It is not fair to them, and it sure isn’t fair to the parents as well,” one mother said.
“My son was looking forward to school on Monday, and now he will be home for another two weeks. Right now, he is very disappointed,” another mother said.
She said the closure also brought on another problem, finding a babysitter for her son.
“I work, and I can’t bring him with me; and his father is a taxi driver, so he surely can’t take care of him, so it’s another stress on us to find someone to take care of our son while we wait for his school to open,” she said.
Teachers at Febeau Government Primary have given the Ministry of Education and the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) one more day to address their issues at the school before they walk off the job again.
On Monday, teachers left the school which is temporarily located at St George East District Office building in Tunapuna because the air conditioning unit was not functioning in classrooms on the third floor, and it became uncomfortable for them to teach.
Other issues they wanted addressed were broken toilets and leaks throughout the building. Speaking to Newsday yesterday Public Relations Officer of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), Eric Joseph, said teachers informed the association that if their demands were not met by this evening they will show up for school tomorrow, sign the register, and then leave.