Who cares about our children?
By Cecily Asson Saturday, October 20 2012
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CHILDREN'S CHARITY: John Phangyou, front centre, and his Standard Five classmates of Cocorite Government Primary School present Ingrid Shepherd with a...
Who cares? That’s the question Marjorie Figeroux-Thomas wants answered by the Ministry of Education.
Her son, who is in Form Three, is one of 120 students of Palo Seco Government School who are yet to begin classes since the new term began in September 3.
The school was recently closed because of a fungus infection which has affected members of staff and students. An air quality test has been carried out by CARIRI to determine the source of the fungus, while remedial work and sanitisation continue.
It took several days of consultation with the Education Ministry before it was agreed that the students and staff take up temporary accommodation at Petrotrin’s Beach Camp facility. Last Tuesday, students of Forms One, Four and Five began classes at the location. However students of Forms Two and Three were promised air-conditioned containers to house them, but to date they are still waiting.
Figeroux-Thomas, second vice-president of the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA), yesterday said concerns were mounting among parents about their children’s education.
“Last week I actually watch my child walk away from me in tears when I told him there would be no school for him as the containers had not yet arrived. It really broke my heart to know that I have a son who is interested in school, and nowhere for him to go. We parents are now concerned that these children are home, and no one cares.”
Some parents are forced to fork out hundreds of dollars to pay for lessons while others are being home schooled for the time being, Figeroux-Thomas said. “Right now lessons classes are packed to capacity.”
The lessons, she said, cost anywhere between $25 to $30 per subject, per session. She is worried about those children who are left unsupervised at home for the day.
“Some parents have no other choice, but to leave them home,” she said, adding they are worried their children might spend the rest of the term at home.
“We are not seeing anything taking place with regards to the containers promised by the ministry to be in place more than two weeks ago. We are not getting answers from the ministry so after our meeting this weekend we are going to step up our action.”
The ministry, in a statement issued on Thursday, said the pre-engineered classrooms for the Forms Two and Three students ought to be completed in the next two weeks.
“Arrangements have been put in place to accommodate these students at the mentioned location until works have been completed to rid their original school building of fungus,” the ministry said.