THREE weeks after it shut down the La Romaine Secondary School the TT Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) yesterday told teachers to continue to refuse to work until the electrical problems at the school are fixed.
TTUTA president Lynsley Doodhai also called on the Ministry of Education to deal expeditiously with the problems, saying it is imperative this is done as end-of-term tests, graduation and intake of new students for the new September term could be affected.
Doodhai said yesterday the school has been plagued by at least three electrical fires in the last few years, the most recent being on May 17 in the integrated science laboratory. He said the Mon Repos Fire department cautioned the fire was caused by faulty wiring and suggested the need for an electrical inspection of the building. An inspection by the Electrical Inspectorate Division (EID) revealed numerous electrical issues throughout the school and were outlined in a report, he said, and school was given until August 21 to rectify all the problems.
“At the same time the teachers became aware that there were two previous electrical fires, one in the multi-purpose hall and another in the gymnasium.
“Upon the advice of TTUTA, the teachers decided to refuse to work, under Section 15 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act. The OSH Authority was notified of the teachers’ refusal to work, as there is no functional safety committee at the school, as is required under the OSH Act,” Doodhai said.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said the shutdown was unfortunate as children are being deprived of their right to an education. However, he said the ministry is working to resolve the problem and contrary to media reports, the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) visited the school about two weeks ago, a scope of work is being prepared and a contract will soon be awarded.
PTA members said two EFCL representatives finally visited the school on Wednesday morning and they await the report, which the OSH Authority and the other agencies were also waiting for to make a final recommendation.
The PTA also chided Garcia for his statements blaming the age of the structure for the faults. Garcia had said the age of school is the main problem because the outdated wiring makes it vulnerable when new equipment is installed. The PTA said La Romaine Secondary was built in 2003.