‘They should stop worrying about Marriott Hotel and build us a school’—-Parents
Parents of students attending the St. Agnes Primary School were once again armed with placards as they protested for a new school building.
In front of the Education Minister’s Office on Brickdam, yesterday, parents and members of the Parent-Teachers’ Association (PTA), expressed concerns that their children are made to study in “not so conducive” conditions.
“Every time it rain, the place would flood out, and the mosquitoes would bite up the children dem and suh. How is that healthy? And plus, these are students who writing examinations in a couple months,” one parent said.
Another added that it was only two days before the new school year started, that garbage accumulated from the previous school term, was disposed of.
Parents also told Kaieteur News that their children would relate seeing rats swimming in stagnant sewage in the yard and beneath the floor boards.
Apart from the insanitary conditions, parents said that they are particularly concerned about the ongoing dispute between that school and the administration of the adjoining, St Rose’s High, over space. The two schools share a large compound on Church Street, Cummingsburg, Georgetown.
Parents related that the continuous feud is not only an inconvenience to the students, but also a distraction to those preparing to sit the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) in a few months.
As the new school year commenced earlier this month, more than 100 grade six students were locked out of their classrooms. The parents then protested. “Enough is enough. We need a new school”.
The protestors also expressed safety concerns, since the old wooden building has only one entrance/exit.
“Suppose fire break out in deh now, wah gon happen to we kids? God forbids that happen. I know for a fact children gon left stranded in da place,” one mother opined.
“This is not fair to these students. When they fail, is not the Ministry’s future gon go down the drain, is the students…we children. They need a school. That should be priority,” one parent noted.
Subsequently, Chief Education Officer (CEO), Olato Sam visited the public education institution, and the students were allowed back inside.
Nonetheless, parents complain that their children are continuously being “bullied” by those of St. Rose’s High School, for their classrooms and additional space.
Sam had then promised that these and other issues affecting both parents and students would be resolved.
The parents believe that “Government should stop worrying about building the unnecessary, unwanted, Marriott Hotel, wheh only all the “big ones” gon be. They should start thinking about what would happen to poor and middle class children if they don’t get a proper education.”
While the parents continued to complain that nothing has been done, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, said that she is not surprised at the protest action, but finds it disappointing, especially since agreements were made on the issue, yesterday (Thursday).
In an invited comment, the Minister said that she is aware of the issues affecting the students, and that works are continuing to address them.
Minister Manickchand also noted that a meeting will soon be held with the PTA.
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