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Top TTUTA official says provide principals with $$ to fix schools
A top teachers’ union official is calling on the Ministry of Education to provide financing and training to principals so that they can repair their respective schools. TTUTA’s first vice-president Davanand Sinanan was speaking after the Moruga RC school was closed indefinitely when parents and students staged protest action yesterday to highlight what they described as deplorable conditions at the 87-year-old building.
The school on the Gran Chemin seafront, is one of the landmarks of Moruga but within recent times the school has begun to deteriorate. Sinanan said teachers had a right to stop working if they felt their health was at stake. He said over 203 schools were scheduled to be renovated last August but because of the volume of the workload, it was not possible to complete the exercise.
President of the Parent/Teacher Association Vin Ramnarine said the roof leaks, the floors are unstable and the sewer system is malfunctioning. “The children are falling ill and teachers do not want to teach here because of the conditions,” Ramnarine said. He said also the staircase on the southern side of the building which is without handrails poses a danger to students when wet. Whenever it rains, teachers have to use buckets to catch water in the classrooms, he said.
Ramnarine said students were being deprived of an education, explaining that there have been no classes for the past week because school was dismissed each day at 9:30 am, one hour after the scheduled start.
The school has over 100 pupils and eight teachers. Ramnarine said the PTA had unsuccessfully sought assistance from the RC Board and the Ministry of Education. He added that the PTA raised $4,500 to repair the ceiling, but this too was insufficient.
Another parent, Gaitri Ragoonanan, whose three children attend the school, said two sinkholes, two feet wide and eight feet deep, were another hazard which pupils face. “We have to tell the children not to go near the sinkholes but the little ones can fall in. They are curious and we always worry that they will get hurt,” Ragoonanan said. She said the school janitors have tried filling up the holes with sand and rocks.
Geeta Ragoonanan said national tests and Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) were just around the corner and pupils were being put at a disadvantage. She said the Ministry of Education had scheduled refurbishment to be done over the August vacation but this did not materialise.
Standard Five pupil Shineil Charles said she was worried about her exams. “Students are getting angry and frustrated because we want to become something in our life. The conditions here are terrible. Some of the windows missing and when it rains we get wet. The teachers have to use a piece of board to block off the rain.”
Contacted yesterday, MP for Moruga/Tableland and former junior Education Minister Clifton De Coteau said repairs will begin soon. He said the deputy permanent secretary has already authorised the Education Facilities Company to do repairs and contractors are being evaluated.
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