Tobago school still closed
By KARL E CUPID Tobago Bureau Tuesday, September 18 2012
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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER: Students of the Gervais Junior Academy pre-school hold onto each other's shoulders as they cross Knox Street in Port-of-Spain un...
THE Scarborough Roman Catholic (RC) Primary School in Tobago, remained closed yesterday with classes not expected to resume today.
Repair work at the school was reportedly still in progress up to press time yesterday evening. Sources at the school said yesterday afternoon that the educational institution was likely to resume operations today.
Classes at the Scarborough RC School were suspended indefinitely last week after the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) deemed the school “unsafe” and teachers were advised to walk off the job because of fears for their safety.
The teachers’ union had expressed concern about the soundness of the flooring and the consequent threat to the health and safety of not only teachers and other staffers but also the students themselves.
Problems at the school began as early as last week Monday and Tuesday, when parents of students of Standards One to Three classes were advised to keep their children at home.
At the weekly post-Tobago House of Assembly (THA) executive council meeting last week, Secretary of Education Whitney Alfred reported that a stage, on which a class was being accommodated at the school, had caved in.
He said teachers have also expressed concern about the safety of the flooring.
Meanwhile, there was no word yesterday on the situation at the Speyside High School in east Tobago, where teachers have also walked off the job in protest over a malfunctioning centralised air condition unit at Block D of the school. Alfred said, with teachers having walked off the job, the principal at Speyside High had no alternative but send students home. He said the THA’s Education Division is contemplating either replacing the centralised unit altogether or acquiring several smaller units.
Alfred also argued that Block D houses the art room and other specialised classrooms and only teachers in these areas have been affected by the malfunctioning unit.
“It is therefore difficult to understand or appreciate the logic or reasoning for all the teachers at the Speyside High School to walk off their job”. However, efforts to reach Alfred yesterday for an update on the situation were unsuccessful. Newsday was told he was in a meeting, and, subsequently, advised that Alfred will host a press briefing at the Division’s offices today.