With extensive repairs and a clean-up of the Milton Lynch Primary School now complete, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw is now turning her attention to getting the boys’ school’s roll back up.
While unable to provide numbers at the time of an interview with Barbados TODAY, Bradshaw said she was concerned that the student population at the Water Street, Christ Church school had been falling in recent years.
A meeting with education ministry officials to evaluate the school’s roll over the last two years revealed the fall off had reached a worrying level, with need for an intervention to be made, she said.
The Minister said that while she was not yet in a position to pinpoint the cause of the decline, she believes that the deterioration of the school plant and unsanitary conditions may have something to do with it.
Bradshaw said: “But I am looking to change this.
“The number of boys coming to the institution has been dropping. I guess parents were becoming a little frustrated too with the conditions at the school and they had a number of transfers made out of the institution. I think based on the work that has been done, and the different feeling from the teachers, we are likely to see an increase in the school roll, certainly going forward.
“I think it is the only boy school at the primary level that we have on the island and I think that it can serve a purpose in helping to mould young men in that type of institution.
“I have spoken to the principal and some of the teachers and I know in particular the male teachers are eager to introduce programmes separate and distinct from the normal curriculum, to be able to really mold these young men and prepare them for secondary school and certainly for life.”
Following a protest by parents, and complaints from teachers about the unfavourable conditions, Minister Bradshaw visited the institution to see the conditions for herself.
It was then that she promised that when school resumed after the Easter vacation, most of the issues would have been fixed.
When Barbados TODAY visited Milton Lynch on Tuesday’s start of the school term, students and teachers were pleased with the improved conditions.
The Barbados Union of Teachers’ shop steward at the school, Mark Green, reported that teachers were pleased that the Minister kept her promise.
Bradshaw said she was happy to have been able to fulfill the promise, but said that the ministry would now be looking to work with parents and teachers to develop an agriculture programme on the site.
“It is something that I supported. We have removed an old prefab building and we are now going to work with them to get a programme set up for the boys to be able to engage in an agriculture project on the site,” she said.
Bradshaw said minor work still to be completed at the school is to be during the summer vacation.