As thousands of students began their new school year yesterday, pupils of the Beterverwagting Practical Institute Centre (PIC) on the East Coast of Demerara spent their entire day outside of classes after teachers protested about the insanitary condition of the school.
In fact the children will remain out of school until Thursday because according to the Ministry of Education, the BV PIC was unprepared for their children both in terms of the outside as well as inside the building.
The ministry in a press statement yesterday said that the school will be closed to facilitate repairs and renovation works which are expected to be completed in the next two days. These repairs are being undertaken by Central Ministry.
Yesterday when this publication visited the school, which houses over 500 students, three men were seen in the yard working feverishly to clear down the high grass in the compound. Dozens of large bags filled with cow manure were seen dumped in a corner at the entrance of the school.
In the school garden, plants and produce were literally invisible as thick grass grew over them. Animal pens in the farm were also bordered with grass and there were no signs of animals.
A high stench of urine was present in both male and female washrooms. What was more disturbing, a worn-out toilet brush which looked like it was previously used was found in the hand sink of the female washroom.
A concerned parent who was present at the school yesterday said that when she contacted her son, he explained to her that the school had no classes due to the “high bush” in the compound.
“I was at work because I had to leave early, so I didn’t get to see him off, but something keep telling me to call him and when I did, he told me that the entire yard had high bush and the head-master called off school,” the parent said.
The woman added that when she arrived at her son’s school, she was greeted with the sight of high bushes which almost covered the walkway.
“I have never seen this school in this condition. The bushes were so high in the school yard that you couldn’t see the school from the gate. Is this what we sending our children to school for?” The mother said.
Another parent told this publication that on the day of registering his daughter at the school, he questioned the teachers about the deplorable condition of the compound.
“When I arrived here, the first thing as a parent, I thought to myself, is that this place is dangerous. When I enquired about the condition of the compound, the teachers told me that Ministry of Education will have some weeders over to cut down the bushes,” the man said.
He added that when he arrived at the school yesterday morning, he was astonished that the same place he left over three weeks ago had evolved into a “safari”.
“This is unacceptable. Are we housing animals here? And then the Ministry comes in here like they all concern when they should have done something from since the school closed.”
Officials from the Ministry of Education arrived around 1:30 pm yesterday and were seen in discussion with teachers of the school. The headmaster was unable to be reached for a comment.
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