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Protest outside Manzanilla school

Wednesday, January 8 2014

FRUSTRATED parents and students, the latter being clad in school uniform, yesterday staged a protest outside Manzanilla North Government Primary School demanding that the school be repaired to facilitate the students’ return to classrooms.

“The entire infrastructure of the building is breaking apart. There are large cracks in the building. It is so bad the doors cannot even close,” said parent Natalie Reyes.

Reyes whose daughter is a second year infant student, said infrastructure problems at the school became noticeable last May and both parents and the school’s principal sent letters to the Ministry of Education requesting repair work be undertaken.

Reyes said the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) was supposed to effect repairs during the Christmas vacation. With a student population of just 32, Reyes said she cannot understand why there is a delay to repair this small school.

Reyes said the Standard Five students were the first to be affected last year when the walls of their classroom began to cave in. These students now hold their class in the kitchen which is in a different building. “The Standard Five students were supposed to be assessed in Science for the CAC (Continuous Assessment Component), but this has been postponed,” Reyes said. She added that the principal has informed parents that the school was deemed unfit for occupation by officials at the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OSHA).

“All the information was reported to the Ministry but nothing was done. We have been pleading with the Ministry to fix this school,” she said. Media relations officer at the Ministry Yolanda Morales-Carvalho yesterday told Newsday that some work was done on the school.

“The EFCL is dealing with the scope of work for the ceiling. The EFCL has been in contact with school officials to find out what is going on,” she said.

Addressing problems in other schools, Morales-Carvalho said the Lower Cumuto Government Primary School was closed yesterday following an early dismissal on Monday, the first day of the new school term.

She said EFCL officials visited that school and are taking steps to address several problems.

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