ALMOST a week after students across the island resumed school, their Scarborough Secondary counterparts returned to classes on Monday. The school had remained closed to facilitate repairs which remain ongoing on weekends and after school.
Scarborough Secondary has long been plagued by infrastructural challenges and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has identified a site in Bacolet for relocation.
As the gates opened on Monday, from as early as 7am, students and support staff were seen arriving for the start of the day.
Several parents spoke to Newsday, on the condition of anonymity, after dropping off their children.
One parent said: “Scarborough Sec definitely needs a new school. Every term we, the parents, are forced to keep our charges home longer because of repairs – how much repairs can the old building take? It definitely is time for a new school.”
Another parent said: “For years we’ve been hearing talks to a new school, I hope now is the time when we would see action.
“Safety is a priority and I understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, it would take some time, and that’s fine with me.”
TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Tobago Officer Bradon Roberts said he visited the school on Monday.
“People just want to get back to teaching and learning. They (the teachers) just wanted to get back out to work,” he said.
Roberts was part of a stakeholders meeting held by the Division of Education over a week ago to address the closure of the schoo for an additional week. Roberts had told Newsday that the plan for the repairs “wasn’t well thought out.” He said he would have never attempted the repairsbeing during a December break, arguibg that the July-August vacation period was more suited.
President of the Scarborough Secondary alumni Kevon McKenna said while he has not visited the school as yet, his team is comfortable with the discussions thus far.
“The last meeting we had, it went well based on the feedback from the policy makers and technocrats. What is needed at this point is a continuance of communication and patience from all stakeholders as building a school of this magnitude will take some time and the alumni don’t want no rush job.”
Chief Secreytary Farley Augustine chaired a meeting last Tuesday to discuss the relocation of Scarborough Secondary.
At that meeting, stakeholders were informed of lands being looked at in Bacolet, opposite the health centre.
However, Roberts left that meeting still dissastified as he said "conrete information" was lacking.
He said while the design for a new school is yet to begin, a team was created to work on it. He added,"The survey for the lands – to make sure that the lands is suitable – hasn’t been done as yet. A timeframe of six months to a year has been given for the designs and to get all those needful done, while after that is to get the funding secured and to start building. The building is projected to take between three to four years.”