THE non-payment of a utility bill at a community centre housing pupils of Union Presbyterian Primary School has prevented 140 pupils from attending classes since the opening of the new school term.
Pupils from standards three to five will remain at the community centre until the new school is rebuilt.
However, parents of pupils in first year to standard two classes are also concerned that their children were unable to attend classes since school reopened.
The pupils attending classes in the community centre are now affected by the cut in electricity supply.
Communications officer in the Ministry of Education, Alicia Busby, confirmed that outstanding arrears of an electricity bill was the reason the entire school was not housed at the community centre.
“The Ministry of Education has offered to pay the bill. But an official of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission said that the company will only take payment from the Ministry of Community Development,” said Busby.
The Express was told that from May 2012 to July 2013, the pupils were placed on a shift system because the school was in need of repairs.
Parents told the Express that in August the school principal advised them that classes will be held at Union Community Centre, approximately half mile away from the school.
One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I was happy to hear this and made preparations for my son to go to school. But the weekend before the school term re-opened a message was written on a blackboard advising parents that school would not be held until further notice.”
The parent added that two weeks ago, pupils of standards three to five were informed that they would have classes from 8 a.m. to noon at the community centre.
Parents of the younger pupils said they wanted the authorities to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
“Everyday for the last six weeks it has been a hassle for parents to find activities for the children. Parents also have to work, and it is a strain to find persons to look after the children, when they should be in school,” said the parent.
An Education Facilities Co Ltd (EFCL) official said he was uncertain when the electricity bill will be paid, but assured parents that pupils will be able to return to full classes soon.