President of the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations Shone Gibbs says he is satisfied that students of the Alma Parris School will be adequately taken care of, following the announcement of the school’s closure at the end of this school year.
Earlier this week, Barbados Union Of Teachers (BUT) President Pedro Shepherd revealed that after 22 years in existence, the Speightstown-based learning institution would not re-open its doors in September.
“It is official that Alma Parris School will be closed. Within the last ten years Alma Parris featured highly on our agenda at the quarterly meetings at the Ministry of Education. There were definitely some challenges and I suspect that the ministry has not been able to grapple with those challenges, and so the decision was made to close the school, I believe in the short term, until they can find some strategy to deal with the challenges,” Shepherd said at the time.
Following that announcement, Minister of Education Ronald Jones Friday confirmed that the Alma Parris School will be closed, pointing out, as he delivered the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s lunchtime lecture, that it only had 60 students and that over the past two years it has been difficult to get parents of students sitting the 11-plus examination to opt to send their charges there.
“The school was imploding, it was essentially dying,” said Jones. “To have 60 students isolated from the regular school environment was wrong for them.”
He also suggested that there would be no problem in accomodating the displaced students since there were three new schools opened this year with quality teaching which could accomodate a total of 450 students but had only taken in 168.
Also commenting on the development, Gibbs told Barbados TODAY: “I have been made aware of the reasons surrounding the closure of the school and I’m satisfied that provisions would be made for the 60 plus students who would have been there to be integrated into the regular system and catered for and there would be constant mentoring of those students to ensure that they realign and be integrated back into the system and realigned with their purpose,” he said.
He could not say exactly where the students would be accommodated but said he was satisfied that the necessary arrangements were being put in place.
“I think what would be taken into consideration is the skills, aptitude and the allocations will also take into consideration the zones and so on but I’m satisfied with what I’ve been told,” he said.