− Reopening delayed
Parents of students attending Ituni Primary School in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) staged a protest at the school on Monday morning, citing the deplorable conditions within the learning institution.
Armed with their placards, parents and students protested outside the school’s compound, highlighting their concerns. Given the situation, the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) decided not to have the school reopened until the issues were resolved. A parent and member of the school’s PTA, Kim Edwards, told this publication that the issues were not new to the school and ranged from malfunctioning and limited washroom facilities to lack of potable water and faulty infrastructure.
“This is not today, but it’s (been ongoing since) about three years ago. We’ve been asking for a sanitary block, for them to look after our sanitary block. One toilet is in use. The children, both male and female, using one toilet. Our corridors – all the wood falling off. The steps: we have to choose where to walk. Only one step is functioning. The other one, they have to choose where to walk,” Edwards stated.
She added that although officials from the Education Ministry and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) were aware of the situation, the issues remained unaddressed.
The PTA member said too that concerned residents had spoken to regional officials regarding the situation, but received no assistance. Edwards added that officials visited the school once and had advised them to block off the school’s problematic steps, which had been done; however, she noted that the pressure remained on the other steps.
“Nobody came. We need somebody to come and see what is happening. It’s not a word of mouth thing. They have to see. The toilet is filled to the top with filth (as a result of the lack of water),” she lamented.
Edwards pointed out that students who have to sit the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examinations would be affected by the situation.
“It’s in a terrible state. Real terrible state. Then we have children who have to write the National Grade Six examination. You know they will just bring the contracts and engineers and they will just assess the building and then that’s it. They gone, and they leave us like that,” the parent noted.
Recently, Councillors had highlighted the deplorable conditions which were unearthed during a visit to several schools in riverine areas in the Region. Regional Chairman Renis Morian, during a RDC meeting last week, presented a document titled “Year of Results-based Management” which includes plans for the Region’s education sector, among other areas, for 2017. The document outlined plans to be facilitated in collaboration with the Education Department for the upgrading of schools and compounds, the establishing of a working relationship with schools’ PTAs and the monitoring of education delivery in the Region.
“We’ve talked a lot in 2016 and I don’t want a talk shop… this has been a sore point for us. We want to see school compounds look better,” Morian had stated during the meeting.