Only two schools failed to open yesterday
Tuesday, January 8 2013
Only two schools remained closed yesterday as the new school year began according to Yolanda Morales-Carvalho, Media Relations Coordinator for the Ministry of Education.
Last year, she recalled, 33 schools did not open on time, due to infrastructural issues. However, the Ministry of Education, she said, had been working diligently throughout the Christmas vacation to ensure that schools reopened without any problems.
“We are very pleased with the completion of repairs. We had some challenges with two or three schools, but that was because there was late reporting on those schools,” Morales-Carvalho said. Two schools which will be opening late are St Augustine Government Primary School, and Ecclesville Presbyterian Primary School.
In St Augustine Government Primary School, students were asked to stay at home because there was a problem with the sewer system that required immediate repair. Due to unfavourable weather conditions, the Ministry could not have the repairs done immediately. As well, the faulty sewer system was brought to the Ministry’s attention only last week. Morales-Carvalho predicted the school should open tomorrow.
Ecclesville Presbyterian Primary School is the other late-opener because it had a severe bat infestation, which led to it being contaminated with bat faeces. This caused an unhealthy environment for the students, and they were asked to stay at home.
This issue was also brought to the Ministry’s attention last week. Workers have already been deployed to the school. Round the clock work has been done and Morales-Carvalho hoped, the school will be ready for the students today.
Morales-Carvalho told Newsday all schools had a deadline to request any repairs needed. This deadline passed before the school term ended last year. When the reports were made, the Ministry was able to compile a list. The Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) repaired the schools.
Last term, Malick Secondary School, Morvant, was one of the schools which had difficulty opening its doors on the first day of school. Last August, a fire occurred because of faulty electrical work. This caused the school to be closed for the term, and the students were either re-located to Aranjuez North Secondary School, or were forced to stay at home.
Onika Buckmire, President of the Parent/Teacher Association for Malick, was happy to report the school was reopened without any problems. However, she stated there are still some minor work to be done to the building, primarily painting, but this will not hinder the teaching schedule because the work will be done during the next school break.
Peter Williams, secretary of Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA) stated he has not received any reports of schools being forced to remain closed.
Zena Ramatali, president of National Parent Teacher’s Association, received a report only from one school in Caroni where parents were unhappy with a particular teacher. This incident did not hinder the progress of the school, and Ramatali preferred to disclose more information about the situation after she investigates.