Kerr: Signal Hill students at risk of failing exams

A view of the Scarborough RC Primary school on Smithfield Road, Scarborough.
A view of the Scarborough RC Primary school on Smithfield Road, Scarborough.

Orlando Kerr, Tobago Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), is calling on officials of the Division of Education to urgently address problems affecting teachers and students including the lack of air-condition at the Science labs at the Signal Hill Secondary School.

In a telephone interview with Newsday Tobago on Thursday, Kerr said students at Signal Hill have been unable to submit their Science SBAs (school-based assessments) to date and may fail their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Science exams because they cannot use the labs.

“The science labs cannot be utilised because there is a lack of air-conditioning and because of the excessive heat and the chemicals, that poses a threat to safety for both the teachers and the teachers,” he said.

Reminding that this was one issues raised by teachers and parents of the school during a lunchtime protest in November last year, Kerr said they were assured that the matter would be dealt with speedily.

“We were given the assurance by authorities of the Division that the situation would be dealt with by the end of November. We are now in January 2019, but yet the situation remains the same,” he said.

Kerr also said that at a meeting with officials of the Division last Wednesday, the matter of slippery tiles and flooding in the classrooms at the Scarborough Roman Catholic primary school whenever it rains, were also discussed.

“As we speak, they have not completed the work on the flooding issues, they are presently installing awnings at the side of the building. These are issues that have been existing for a very long time and we would really like to see that they get treated with in a comprehensive manner,” he said.

Attempts to contact Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, who is also Secretary of Education proved futile as calls to his mobile went unanswered.

On October 15, 2018, the Division of Education issued a press release stating that the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL), project manager for construction of the school, had engaged contractor Eric Lewis to begin remedial works at Scarborough RC, beginning on October 19 in block E, and will include installation of awnings to reduce the water flow on the corridor. The Division said after consultation with a floor specialist, it was recommended that an epoxy topping be applied to the existing tiles. It said work should be completed in an approximately two weeks.

On November 15, the Division confirmed that there were issues of flooding at Scarborough RC School during an incidence of heavy rainfall, with Schools Supervisor 1, Milton Eastman, stating that the school had to be dismissed early on November 14 even though in-house measures and additional staff were put in place to assist with containing the flooding. He said the situation became overwhelming and the safety of staff and students was made a priority.

The release also reported Administrator in the Division, Jacqueline Job as saying there was a delay in the installation of awnings due to a need to resolve issues with project manager, the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL). Job also said there was a delay in obtaining the material from abroad to fix the tiles.

The Scarborough RC school, on Smithfield Road, which was commissioned on August 29, 2018, was built at a cost of $85 million. It was said to be OSHA compliant and easily accessible for the differently abled, as well being the first of its kind in TT, boasting three storeys with 27 classrooms to accommodate 750 students, a staff room, a computer room, a cafeteria, sick bay, a library, a chapel and an elevator.


"Kerr: Signal Hill students at risk of failing exams"

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