GINA, GUYANA, Friday, September 2, 2016
Students and other stakeholders of the Brickdam Secondary and Buxton Primary Schools are likely to see new buildings for their schools in the near future.
Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine said preparations are being made for submissions to the Ministry of Finance for provisions in the 2017 budget for the construction of two new schools to house the students of Buxton Primary, East Coast Demerara and Brickdam Secondary, Georgetown.
Students of the Brickdam Secondary School are soon to be housed at the facility which formerly housed the East La Penitence Primary school in Freeman Street, East La Penitence. Students of the Buxton Primary School are to be relocated to the Company Road Primary School, Company Road, Buxton North, East Coast Demerara when the new school year begins on September 5, 2016.
The students of both schools have been faced with relocation because of inadequate facilities.
Addressing the situation which exists at the Buxton Primary, Minister Roopnaraine told the Government Information Agency (GINA), “Basically what needs to happen is that we need construction of a new school, and we are going to put in the 2017 budget a new school for Buxton. We know that the situation is not satisfactory the way it is, and we are trying to make sure that when we make the move, the pupils will be moving to a situation where we have more space, playground and so on. The furniture has been moved to Company Road Primary, we are hoping we will get everything ready for September (5); it’s a lot of preparation.”
Further the minister said it is still to be decided whether or not a different location will be considered for the construction of the new building for the Buxton Primary School.
The Education Minister explained that the objective is to have children in an environment where there is adequate playground space. “That’s something that’s still to be decided. We may have to move to a new location because if we want to provide playground and facilities we don’t want the children to be crowded up in a building … ideally speaking, all schools should be placed in a situation where you have adequate playground facilities so that children can breathe out of school… I am trying to get all these things in a state of readiness to present to the Minister of Finance who is ultimately the decision maker in this,” the minister noted.
Residents of Buxton, recently raised objections to a proposed closure of the Buxton Primary School, which Ministry of Education officials said is structurally unsound.
The decision to close and relocate students and teachers of the Brickdam Secondary School arose following complaints by staff and students of the inadequacy of facilities at the space-constrained location. Among the complaints were improper staffroom for teachers, poor sanitary facilities for teachers and students and lack of recreational facility and canteen for students.
In June 2016, teachers staged a sit-in to protest the conditions under which they worked, while parents protested the conditions under which their children were forced to learn, and the apparent sloth of administrators to address their complaints.
Following a meeting with teachers, the then Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam announced that the school would be closed and students and teachers relocated.