ELEVEN primary schools did not open yesterday for the new school term because repairs still need to be done.
This is according to Lynsley Doodhai, president of the National Primary Schools Principals’ Association (Napspa).
The association issued a press release listing the schools that did not reopen.
The list includes Rio Claro Hindu, Guayaguayare RC, Mafeking Government, Tunapuna Boys RC,Manzanilla/Nariva Government, Tamana RC, Mamoral RC, Upper Carapichaima Presbyterian, Clarke Rochard Government, Princes Town ASJA and Marac Baptist.
Among the problems were electrical and infrastructural issues, malfunctioning washrooms, and bat droppings.
Nine primary schools that opened on time were still in urgent need of repair and faced similar problems, Doodhai stated.
These are Diego Martin Girls RC, Todd’s Road RC, Carenage Boys Government, Diamond Vale Government, La Sieva RC, Carenage Girls Government, Cocorite Government, Diego Martin Boys RC and St. Therese RC.
In March, Napspa stated that a request was made for the list of schools to be repaired before the July/August vacation was completed.
Doodhai said some principals began receiving calls about two weeks before the re-opening of school, informing them that repairs had begun. Doodhai said: “ Napspa notes with grave concern that the Vacation School Repair Programme has been plagued by perennial problems that negatively impact the commencement/re-opening of schools on time. Further, Napspa is of the considered opinion that the 2013 programme has been an unmitigated disaster. It also exposed EFCL’s (Education Facilities Company Ltd’s) capacity to deliver projects on time, negating the highest quality in this instance. The efforts, of the Ministry of Education and EFCL, or lack thereof, have left large numbers of learning communities frustrated. This should never be repeated.”
He said prior planning and preparation should be in place, and there should be “expeditious completion of outstanding repairs,” high quality work and adequate funding.
Doodhai suggested: “Ensure that repairs begin during the first week of the school vacation and cease one week before the reopening of school. Proper planning could realise this goal/target”.
In a statement issued by Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh on Sunday, he noted that approximately 100 schools are over 100 years of age and 200 are more than 50 years of age.