Parents want Repairs to Ortoire RC School…

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

STANDING with umbrellas and raincoats in a heavy downpour, parents placarded the Ortoire Roman Catholic Primary School in Mayaro on Tuesday morning.

They say their children attending the school deserve the best and the school’s conditions were not suited for schoolwork.

The parents gathered in front the compound at around 7.30 am on Tuesday, initially not allowing anyone to enter. It was their second day of protest.

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They said they were tired of promises not being materialised.

Spokesperson for the parents Glenda Blackman, 56, told AZP News that last school term just prior to the vacation, parents were told by teachers that a pre-fabricated building would be ready for children to use by September.

Blackman is the parent of a child in Standard Three.

She said the main building that houses Standards One to Three were condemned and scheduled to be demolished which was also not yet done.

Blackman, also a past pupil of the 75-year-old school said the aging infrastructure of the main building seemed not to be a problem for the relevant authorities.

She said, “The children are being cramped into two buildings, one which is the staff and office building. Since about two years now the children are using those buildings. The school has been marked for repairs three to four years now and nothing has been done. 

“We the parents have decided that I and three other strong parents are going to stand at this entrance every day until somebody from somewhere comes and meet with us and give us that assurance that something is going to get done.”

The parents also took videos and photos of the protest, sharing on social media.

In one video, a parent is saying, “The school is in a dilapidated condition. In spite of the weather, we are willing to brave it for our children.”

Blackman also told AZP News that Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray and local government councillor for Cocal/Mafeking Renelle Kissoon were aware of the school’s situation.

Kissoon said the school was previously used as an emergency shelter by the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation but was deemed unfit last year.

She said the corporation tries to assist whenever they could with school maintenance and drain cleaning but the Ministry of Education would have to step in to deal with  the major issue of the building’s integrity.

AZP News has contacted the Ministry of Education for response on the issue.

According to the ministry’s information on Monday evening, 99 per cent of the 830 public Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres, primary and secondary schools across Trinidad and Tobago were opened.

With respect to Trinidad, less than one per cent of schools with extensive repair works did not open due to works being completed and six per cent opened on rotation due to extensive repair works being completed. 

“In all cases except one, repair works are carded to be completed during the course of this week,” the ministry stated.

For attendance, in the primary schools, there was a 97 per cent teacher turn out and 83 per cent of pupils showing up for classes.

At the secondary school level, there was a 94 per cent teacher attendance and 82 per cent, pupil attendance.


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