Students study at centres while schools under repair
By Rachael Espinet Monday, August 26 2013
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Balancing act: A boy balances on a skateboard on Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain yesterday enjoying the last days of the school vacation. ...
The Ministry of Education will help the Ministry of Community Development to complete some community centres around the country, so that the centres could house students whose schools are carded for reconstruction.
This collaboration was done to avoid students missing any class time Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said yesterday.
“We are getting some help from the Ministry of Community Development. We are working to help complete some community centres to house the student in other areas, utilising the Ministry’s contractors,” Gopeesingh said.
Approximately nine schools will be displaced and relocated to the community centres. These schools will reopen in September, and have their classes run as usual until the community centres are complete. Then the schools’ infrastructure will go under reconstruction, and the students’ classes will continue in the community centres.
“As soon as we finish the community centres we will break down the schools and send them into the centres,” he said. Gopeesingh said this was the best way to ensure that the students do not miss out on necessary teaching time. He said the principals of these schools all agree that it is the best way for the students to fully benefit from the reconstruction.
Further addressing school repairs, Gopeesingh said there were 162 projects that have begun in this vacation period with more than half of them being completed. He anticipates the rest to be completed this week. Thirty schools with major electrical work were carded to be done at a budget of $22 million.
Gopeesingh said there are many more schools to be repaired as he received requests for almost 400 schools over the vacation period, and the Ministry has recently received 50 more urgent requests for repairs.
“It is a daunting task that we are trying to work with. We inherited a massive amount of dilapidated schools,” he said. Gopeesingh further stated that many of the country’s schools are very old. More than 100 schools are older than100 years, and more than 200 schools are 50 years old. He said the Ministry is working assiduously to repair these schools.
Between July 2010 and October 2012 the Ministry has done repair work on 650 schools over those 27 months at a cost of $340 million.
“An analysis done on emergency repairs for schools in the past 18 months show 939 schools needed emergency work, and all of this was done in the midst of work we are doing,” Gopeesingh said.
So far, he said the Ministry has completed work on 80 Early Child Care Education (ECCE) Centres, 11 primary schools and 14 primary schools are carded to be completed shortly, seven secondary schools completed and nine are under construction.
This year the Ministry intends to have new construction work done on 50 more ECCE Centres and 40 primary schools.
This week the Minister will hold meetings with representatives from the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) to assess the progress of the school repairs, and he hopes that all schools will be ready for the new school year.