Education Minister Anthony Garcia says he understands the frustration stakeholders of the Couva West Secondary School feel, but promised work is being done to return the school to a state of normalcy in the shortest time. He thanked parents and stakeholders for their patience.
The education ministry said over $6 million has been spent to repair the troubled school and a further $2 million is to be spent to ensure a comfortable environment for both teaching and learning.
The ministry responded to Newsday’s report that frustrated parents were now seeking transfers for their children as the school has been closed since October last year.
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh said he was bombarded by requests for transfers and was at his wits end as he could not get a commitment from Garcia when the school would be repaired and opened.
A release sent by the ministry’s senior communications officer, Visham Ramsaywack, said the school was opened to students in September 2013 but has been plagued with problems ever since.
“Since its handover to the ministry, the school has been plagued with many infrastructural, sewer, plumbing and air-conditioning problems, which the ministry has been consistently addressing.
“When the repairs, thus far, to this school have been tallied, over $6 million has been spent to rectify these issues in an effort to reduce any loss in teaching time.”
The ministry said it is aware of the impact that the last forced closure has caused, and has continued to work expediently to bring the school into a state of readiness.
“To truly understand the predicament that the ministry has been placed in with this school, one must be familiar with the challenges that have been faced since 2013. The problems that have been occurring at the school are very similar to other schools that were handed over to the ministry around the similar time period. This has caused the ministry to conduct extensive quality surveying and assessments in an attempt to mitigate these problems arising with any additional schools.”
The statement quoted Garcia as saying, “It is unfortunate that we have gotten to this point because of poor work that would have been done initially.