All sectors of the economy have been affected by the recession gripping T&T.
The education system has not been left untouched.
Within the last three years there has been a proliferation of bats and pigeons in schools. The problem has reached such a critical proportion that it has adversely affected 15 schools this term, forcing some to close for extensive periods, said Devanand Sinanan, vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).
He added: “Three to four years ago we never had this problem and we need to find out what is causing these huge populations of bats and pigeons to take up refuge in the schools. “We need to find out if there is a sudden population increase in these creatures or if their habitats are being adversely affected and the need to find homes elsewhere.
“The time has come to get a biological solution to the problem because it is getting worse and the ministry of education must recognise this,” Sinanan added. He called on the ministry to partner with T&T’s Zoological Society and with the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, to determine the cause of the problem and to implement solutions.
Saying the matter had been raised several times with representatives of the ministry, Sinanan said he was disappointed by its lack of interest. He added: “We raised the matter with the deputy permanent secretary Yvonne Chrysostom but we felt she did not really take us seriously.”
Sinanan said when schools close due to bat and pigeon infestation, taxpayers have to fork out huge sums of money to have the buildings properly clean and sanitised. In other cases, the problem takes longer to fix as special nets have to be placed in the ceilings to prevent the bats and pigeons from living there, he said.
“It must be recognised it is costing the country large sums of money every year. It is not only a huge cost but children also lose out on valuable instruction time,” he added.