EDUCATION Minister Anthony Garcia says efforts are being made to address problems at the Arima Hindu Primary and Ramai Trace Hindu Primary schools.
At a news conference on Monday, Garcia said the Arima Hindu school has been the victim of some incidents that have made it unsafe, and parents and teachers have said they will not operate in a school “where their lives could be under threat.”
A decision has been taken to relocate this school. Garcia said a building has been provided to the ministry by a “public-spirited” citizen to house it and he is optimistic the school would move to this building before the end of this week.
Garcia also said the Ramai Trace Hindu school in Debe is among a number of priority schools identified for repair. Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal joined parents of students of the school in a protest last week.
Garcia said this was one of many schools which government found to be incomplete when it assumed office in September 2015, and he hopes construction on the school could resume soon.
He said contractor issues and other factors caused construction and repairs to be stopped under the former administration.
On negotiations over teachers’ salaries, Garcia said that was a matter between teachers and the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and the ministry plays no role in these deliberations.
Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan said the ministry’s book bag committee found that 38 per cent of primary school students experience body pain as a result of overloaded book bags or not carrying them properly. The figure for secondary school students is 22 per cent.
Lack of timetables, resulting in students bringing all their books to school, was one of the contributors to these problems. Seecharan said the ministry will launch a school bag awareness programme to educate students, parents and teachers about these issues.