Education Minister: Gasparillo school structurally safe

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes, centre, with parents outside the Gasparillo Secondary School on September 7. - AYANNA KINSALE
Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes, centre, with parents outside the Gasparillo Secondary School on September 7. - AYANNA KINSALE

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has denied claims that the Gasparillo Secondary School is unsafe.

She was responding after parents and students protested against the poor state of infrastructure.

Parents want the minister to visit the school to see first-hand the conditions and to list the cost of works done and say when repairs will be completed.

In response to questions in Parliament on Friday, Gadsby-Dolly said there were no signs the infrastructure was structurally compromised, and therefore not collapsing.

She said repairs are actively ongoing at the 39-year-old school. She said some areas deemed critical were undertaken during the vacation period, including roof and ceiling replacement in Block B and covered walkway. Air condition repairs electrical repairs, burglar proofing, railing, stairwell, windows and partition were among repairs undertaken.

She said some works were scheduled to take place over the academic year.

At a protest on Friday, parents of students said building's roof was in need of repair. They said there were missing ceiling tiles, collapsing beams, falling stairwell, faulty white boards and decaying desks.

Photos taken by students, were shown to the media by Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes, in whose constituency the school is located, during a news conference on September 7.

President of the Parent Teachers' Association (PTA) Joselle Raymond said there were structural defects in the building, which are a security risk for the 750 students and 57 staff members.

On the first day of school, she said, a student injured a finger from a rusty metal from the railing. The student was taken for medical treatment.

Questioning why the repairs were not done during the July/August vacation, Raymond called for urgent repairs to the roof, ceilings, partitions, railing, staircase and other areas, “so the school could be safe and comfortable for our kids to learn.”

The parents, including those of form one students, said after paying for books and uniform, they did not want to keep their children at home.

One asked why was the school reopened when there was so much work still to be done.

President of TTUTA Martin Lum Kin said his officers visited the school on September 7 and found numerous health and safety issues.

“We are quite surprised at the level of dysfunction that is going on in terms of infrastructure. We are calling on the MOE to ensure the necessary works are done, the money is released and work done to ensure that students and educators can come out and continue the work of education.

“It is quite disheartening and alarming we should be at that stage at this point in time.”


"Education Minister: Gasparillo school structurally safe"

More in this section