|TTUTA: Fix rundown schools |
By Rachel Espinet Thursday, January 30 2014
OFFICIALS of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) are saying that many schools which have existing problems remain open and have students and teachers operating in less than ideal circumstances.
“TTUTA is once again calling on the Ministry of Education to put systems in place so these schools will be able to return to a state of normalcy in the shortest possible time frame,” TTUTA second vice president Lynley Doodhai said.
Doodhai said that on January 24, teachers at Williamsville Secondary refused to attend classes under Section 15 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Doodhai said that since 2011, teachers have voiced concerns over the structural integrity of the three-story building.
“It has been steadily undermined by a constant flow of water under the foundation. The building is extremely old and the last earthquake adversely affected it. Large cracks can be seen on the floors and walls at the first and second floors while the corridor on the ground floor has sunk,” Doodhai said. He added that when children walk on the first and second floors, the ground vibrates. Doodhai said because of the vibrations, the students fear the building could collapse at any moment.
In addition, according to the teachers, there is mold on the walkway and snakes and centipedes have been spotted in the Drama Room.
Doodhai said Pigeons can be seen in Block B and classrooms 19-20 in Block E. There is a dark mould-like substance on the ceiling of all the classrooms in Block B and in the ceiling of Room 17 for Home Economics.
“The teachers have demanded that these and other health and safety issues be remedied immediately and an assessment done by the OSH Agency to determine whether the school is safe for occupation. This determination must be stated in writing,” Doodhai said.
Doodhai added that Diego Martin Girls’ RC has had no classes since January 20 due to rat and pigeon infestation. He said that to date no corrective measures have been undertaken leading to the closure of the school which has affected 325 students.