Although the new school term is scheduled to open tomorrow, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) yesterday said work on the 62 schools earmarked for repairs over the vacation was not complete.
In a release, TTUTA president Lynsley Doodhai said the Vacation Repair Programme started late so repairs on some schools had not yet begun. He said TTUTA met with Ministry of Education officials on Friday to learn that repairs on 80 schools were complete but 43 would be done by September 10 and repairs to 19 schools would be completed during the term.
He said TTUTA flagged several schools as having issues that “may impact negatively on its smooth operations” including Cedros Anglican Primary, San Fernando Boys’ Government Primary, Biche RC Primary, Claxton Bay Junior Anglican, La Lune RC Primary, Rampanalgas RC Primary, Longdenville Presbyterian Primary, Biche Secondary, San Souci RC Primary, ASJA Boys’ College in Charlieville, and Mayaro Secondary.
“TTUTA will not allow any of our members to occupy schools on Monday September 4, 2017 that will place their health and safety at risk. While the Ministry of Education may attempt to open all schools, not all of them may remain open.”
Education Minister Anthony Garcia assured the public that the ministry was working hard to ensure all schools were ready to open tomorrow, with contractors working through the weekend to put the finishing touches on several schools.
He said a survey was conducted on Friday by school supervisors who liaised with the principals of all schools to ascertain the state of each school. “The feedback we have received is that everything should be in readiness. There were one or two little drawbacks but we’re hoping to have those attended to over the weekend.”
He said a large number of schools were old so there would be problems, some of which were unexpected. For example, he said sewer and electricity issues could not be predicted and tend to arise unexpectedly.
Garcia said some principals had installed air condition units in an effort to make students comfortable. However, because the wiring in some of schools were not able to handle the load, there were electrical breakdowns. He therefore asked that principals check with the ministry before they install any a/c units so that the ministry could send technical staff to ensure that the wiring could withstand the extra load.
“Some of these schools had to undergo extensive rewiring because of the excessive demands on the electricity system. But overall, based on the results we had from the survey that was done, and the information that was fed to our school supervisors, we are confident all our schools would be able to open their doors tomorrow.”