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At least 6 schools still closed

By Rachael Espinet Tuesday, January 14 2014

click on pic to zoom in
PIARCO  BRIDGE: Piarco is about to see the last of its old bridges. Two workmen here make preliminary preparations as they are about to demoilish the ...
PIARCO BRIDGE: Piarco is about to see the last of its old bridges. Two workmen here make preliminary preparations as they are about to demoilish the ...

Malick Government Secondary School yesterday opened its doors for the first time in the school term.

However, at least six schools remain closed on the second week of the new school term.

“The reason why all these schools have been closed was due to the failure of EFCL (Education Facilities Company Limited) to complete work requested by principals. In many instances principals have sent numerous requests.

“Many of the repairs were promised during the Christmas vacation, but this did not materialise,” said Lindsay Doodhai, second vice president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).

Malick and Elswick Presbyterian Primary School were two schools that had persistent problems from last year. Both schools opened yesterday. Malick had a persistent mold problem that was eradicated by ice blasting. Malick was closed weeks before the school term ended last year.

Elswick Presbyterian in Tableland also opened following protests about a faulty sewer system. The school was closed one week before the term ended last year.

However, Doodhai said more schools were coming to TTUTA’s attention like St Madeline Government Primary School and Vos Government Primary School in Gasparillo, as well as St Augustine in Basse Terre Village, Moruga; North Manzanilla Government Primary School, Lower Cumuto Government Primary School, and Princes Town East Secondary School.

Doodhai said the students at St Madeline have not had school since the term opened because the teachers have been signing and walking off the compound due to the roof collapsing.

He further said Vos has had a persistent rat infestation and electrical problem. He said he was told on Thursday last, the school caught fire and the Fire Services had to be called.

Doodhai also said the school needs to have major plumbing work done because there is only one functioning female toilet for the students. He said the school has approximately 375 students with more than 200 female students attending. St Augustine has also remained closed because teachers refused to go on the compound due to a sagging ceiling, and bat droppings.

As well, Lower Cumuto Primary School remains closed. On Sunday, Newsday spoke to TTUTA president Davanand Sinanan, who said he was assured by the Ministry that the school would open on Monday. However, Doodhai said the new school building the students of Lower Cumuto were promised did not open.

At Princes Town East Secondary School teachers refused to walk on the compound because they feared there may be mold that is hazardous to their health.

Since last week the school has been closed due to an air-conditioning problem. However, Doodhai said seven teachers had to seek medical attention last week due to eye irritations.

He said the teachers have left the school, and would not return until the Ministry conducts air quality tests to assess the air at the school to see if it contains any noxious gases and test for mold and microbials.

“EFCL would have sent contractors into the school to wipe off the mold, but it is not the way to deal with the mold.

“We are calling on the Ministry of Education to have the test on the school to ensure that the teachers would not get sick,” Doodhai said.

Yolanda Morales-Carvalho, media relations officer with the Ministry of Education, said “EFCL has been working every time there is a problem with the schools.”

She reassured that the EFCL will try to fix every report for repairs they receive as soon as possible.

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