All but four schools will be opened when the new school year starts on Monday, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw has assured.
Following a walkthrough this morning of several schools which had major repairs done during the summer, Bradshaw revealed that St Stephens’ Nursery, St Giles’ Primary, St John Primary and Belmont Primary will not have works completed in time for the new school term. It was revealed that those schools will be closed for an additional week to facilitate not only the completion of works but also the industrial cleaning of those premises.
In addition, the Minister noted that a close eye was being kept on works ongoing at the St Bartholomew’s Primary and Milton Lynch Primary schools. Barbados TODAY got a first-hand look at works in progress at the Ann Hill School, Bay Primary and St Paul’s Primary, where it was evident that workmen still had a great deal to do in the remaining four days. Bradshaw explained that in some cases work will continue when classes begin.
“This year we targeted 41 schools and this was way more than the 17 that we did last year but the Prime Minister [Mia Mottley] would have realised the conditions of the schools would have been so dire that we not only had to address environmental issues but the issues with the physical plants as well. I am pleased to say that all of the renovations are on track and that 38 of 41 schools will be able to be opened on Monday, said Bradshaw, who was accompanied on the site visits by the representatives from the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPS) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.
She further noted, “Given the fact that in the past we have completed works then had to rush to complete industrial cleaning,
I think it is more prudent to close the schools. So I am giving the notice now so that both parents and teachers can be aware of the challenges and be able to plan accordingly.”
Earlier this week the BUT raised concerns about the readiness of a number of primary and secondary schools for the new academic year.
On Tuesday BUT president Sean Spencer, who was present at today’s site visit with the Minister, told Barbados TODAY that based on the union’s most recent assessment, ten school plants needed to have works completed.
“We are presently aware of issues at a number of schools, primary and secondary, where the state of readiness come September 9th is questionable,” he said.
However, Bradshaw explained that the delay had to do with the length of time it took to make funds available to the various contractors to order materials to carry out the work.
“We have had some challenges in the past few months which were not necessarily weather-related. We had issues in terms of getting financing and logistics. In some cases, the contractor did not have the funds because the way in which the ministry traditionally has been able to issue the money has presented some problems. So in fairness it is not really anyone’s fault but those are some of the challenges that we have been facing,” Bradshaw said, noting that the quality of workmanship has been of a high standard.
She added, “We have been trying to rectify most of those problems and I think most of the contractors have been able to get most of their financing and therefore we expect works to move ahead slowly.” [email protected]