Hot classes for Union students
By Richardson Dhalai Friday, October 11 2013
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Community class: Workmen are seen outside a classroom yesterday at Union Village Community Centre, Claxton Bay where students of Union Presbyterian Sc...
Hot classrooms, inadequate ventilation and an unpaid electricity bill at a community centre where students of Union Presbyterian School, Claxton Bay are housed led to a protest by their parents yesterday.
Students were relocated to the Union Village Community Centre to facilitate the construction of a new school building which began during the July/August holidays.
PTA president Betty Seetaram said classes, which began on October 2, at the community centre immediately encountered problems as teaching staff discovered the centre’s electricity had been disconnected for non-payment of a bill.
“The building was designed for air-conditioning so it has very little ventilation and with no electricity, the place has become unbearably hot,” she said. “I saw a teacher correcting a student’s paper and his entire shirt was dripping with sweat.”
She said classes were only held from 8.30 am to 12 noon and only one standard three, two standard fours and two standard five classes were accommodated at the centre. She said no accommodation had been found for the school’s first-year to standard two classes.
The school has an enrollment of approximately 252 students.
“The children are complaining of headaches and when they get home on evenings, their entire school uniforms are drenched with sweat,” Seetaram said adding, “how are students expected to learn in that kind of environment?”
“They think we comfortable here, but we not comfortable here, we took it because we did not have a choice. The children were just home but the teachers cannot work under these conditions,” she said.
Children have been forced to use flashlights when they go to the toilets.
She said the PTA was told the community centre had racked up an extremely large electricity bill which had not been paid for several months.
TTUTA staff representative David Rajkumar said the Education Ministry was aware of the situation but nothing had been done and teachers had taken a decision to stay away from classes from next Monday should the situation remain unresolved.
An Education Ministry source said the Education Facilities Co Ltd (EFCL) had been informed about the bill but was uncertain about whether it had since been paid.
Meanwhile, classes are expected to resume at Pleasantville Government Secondary School on Monday following a meeting with members of the EFCL and the school’s contractor on Wednesday evening.
An Education Ministry officer said the contractor had given the assurance that the works, which included the building of box drains, would be completed by Sunday.
When Newsday visited the site yesterday, work was continuing apace following protests by parents who cited incomplete works at the school including exposed electrical wiring and mounds of rubble.