A NUMBER of Tobago schools have reported issues affecting both teachers and students at the opening of the new term on Monday.
Speyside Anglican Primary school, on the first day, experienced issues with its toilet facility. Newsday understands the washroom facilities are unusable and portable toilets were provided as a short-term remedy. On Tuesday, some of the portable toilets pipelines were damaged which caused flooding and classes were dismissed early.
Signal Hill secondary school reported insufficient seats, and according to TT Unified Teachers Association, Tobago Officer Orlando Kerr, five classes were affected. Children were left to stand in the auditorium on Monday and Tuesday.
Teachers also reported flooding at the one-week old Scarborough RC school in the classrooms and corridors. The school was commissioned last Wednesday.
Kerr described this situation as a disgrace after the scope of works was withheld from TTUTA Tobago during the July/August period.
Kerr told Newsday, “We didn’t have much rain but yet still the school flooded. Now the contractor will have to do some remedial work since the building floods when it rains and this is a new school.”
He said these issues could have been prevented if TTUTA was presented with the scope of works. Kerr said some of these issues had been identified and brought to the attention of the division before the opening of the new school term.
“I wrote to the division less than two weeks ago on various issues, now after the issues are public they want me attend a meeting. That’s the kind of disrespect the division continues to show.
“This was expected because traditionally we would have gotten the scope of works to work with. TTUTA would have been able to ensure the teachers and students are safe and comfortable. For the first time in 20 years, the scope of works was not given to us. We don’t know what works was supposed to be done and what was not done.”
He added, “As a parent, my child will not be using those portable toilets so I cannot advise anybody – not even the teachers – to use those things. Imagine they are asking primary school children to use portable toilets. They must come up with a different alternative to address those issues.”
Kerr believes TTUTA Tobago is being ignored by officials at the division because of a picket protest earlier this year. He said TTUTA will be intensifying their protest action to continue to highlight a number of issues allegedly affecting the association for the last five years.