Three new school buildings were commissioned in east Trinidad on Monday, two at the St Augustine Girls High School (SAGHS) and one at Hillview College.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, a past student of SAGHS, said the new Jennifer Beckles Performing Arts Centre and the Joanne Mahadeo Science Block were the brainchildren of the teachers after which they were named.
The Science Block is a new building, while the Performing Arts Centre replaced a previous structure.
Gadsby-Dolly said the lessons she learned at the school continue to benefit her throughout her life.
“Being a SAGHS girl prepares you for a life’s work. I remember when we used to go out with our buy-a-brick cards and we saw the result when the cultural centre is built. It pushes you beyond your boundaries and teaches you many lessons. My appreciation of pan, my PhD in Chemistry, my discipline, all came from Mrs Beckles. I could not stand here without acknowledging what you did.”
St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen said she welcomed the performing arts centre, as music, art and non-traditional means of education were often ignored. She appealed to the authorities to complete the Curepe Presbyterian School and fix Evans Street in Curepe.
Principal Annu Ramphalie-Motilal thanked Gadsby-Dolly, the Finance Ministry, and the Ministry of Planning and Development for their contribution to the buildings.
At Hillview College, the Leslie Mahase Sixth Form Building was commissioned.
Tunapuna MP Esmond Forde, a past student of the school, said he remembered when the original building also served as the bicycle shed. He said the building WOULD be added motivation for those doing sixth form to join other past pupils who had gone on to do great things.
Gadsby-Dolly said a part of becoming independent was managing the human resources of the nation.
“The country has set about to train and educate its citizens. What we face now with covid19 is an insidious treat, because if we can’t educate our citizens, what will that mean for the future.
"This is the indirect cost of the pandemic. We all have a vested interest in ensuring that educational continuity for our children is maintained.”
She encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated so they could return to school, especially those who would have practical exams to complete.
Presbyterian Secondary Schools’ Board of Education Chairman Ashford Tamby said the two schools were ranked among the top in the country and were known for their many achievements. He said the Board stood by the Education Ministry in working towards the reopening of schools. He said the Presbyterian Church and the Education Board were working to maintain a high standard so that no child would be left behind.