Last update: 20-Dec-2013 1:21 am
Friday, December 20, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Late reports leave 14 schools closed
Almost two months into the school term, 14 primary and secondary school in T&T are yet to reopen as a result of repairs and other problems, said Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) chief operations officer (COO) Kiran Shah yesterday. He blamed the delay on the tardiness of school principals in reporting problems to the Ministry of Education.
“The problems we were challenged is that with a lot of schools, the reports came in late, especially with the primary schools, where two days before the school opens we get further problems that occurred were brought to our attention. “Some have resulted in some schools having to remain closed. With others we have continually fought to get them opened again,” Shah said. From the company's point of view the programme was a success, since 98 per cent of the schools were completed, he added.
Among the schools yet to reopen are Lower Morvant Government Primary, St Augustine Secondary, Tunapuna Secondary, Malick Secondary, South East Port-of-Spain, St Joseph Government Primary School and Barataria RC, which was damaged in an earthquake last month.
He said the issue with Malick was that it required air quality testing which has started and results were expected soon from Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri). Shah said some of the repairs should take no more than a week or two and South East Port-of-Spain, he said, would be completed this weekend. Shah was at a meeting at the Ministry of Education, Alexandra Street, St Clair, to discuss recent events related to Longdenville Presbyterian School.
Students have stayed away from the school since the new term reopened on September 2 and recently teachers stayed away, prompting Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh to say the matter was referred to the Teaching Service Commission by the Chief Education Officer, Harrilal Seecharan, and acting permanent secretary Jennifer Daniel.
At St Augustine Secondary, Shah said, there was an ongoing problem with the sewage treatment plant, which was being resolved. He said the contractor was awaiting a part for one of the pumps. He said Tunapuna, where the septic tank collapsed, was being “scoped” and tender documents were to go out to have the works done. St Joseph Government Primary School, he said, was one of the schools scheduled to be done during the vacation repairs programme but the report came to the company late.
The students, he said, were being moved to other areas and the job was tendered out and a contractor on site. That was expected to take four weeks, he added. He said during the vacation repair programme, the company had 229 jobs completed. At Pt Cumana RC, he said, construction of the new school was on the way and the contract was awarded. Shah said Lower Morvant Government, which also has been closed, would be moved to the Church on the Rock, Morvant, which has been leased for $40,000 a month.
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