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Students, teachers back in classrooms

Students, teachers back in classrooms

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Students at the Dr J P Eustace Memorial High School Annex are back in the classroom after weeks of industrial action, negotiations and uncertainty.

The situation “blew up” when the annex that houses the lower forms was due for repair. The teachers felt that the annex should be closed while work is going on but the Ministry of Education felt otherwise.{{more}}

The teachers cited unsafe and unsanitary conditions as the reasons for demanding the annex be closed for repairs.

As a result the union was brought in and the teachers staged a sickout beginning Thursday November 16 in protest.

The Ministry of Education responded by closing the annex after a high level delegation from the ministry including Permanent Secretary Laura Brown visited the school.

Union President Otto Sam told Searchlight that a number of issues were addressed and the Ministry agreed to implement some remedies, which include installing water fountains, improving lighting, improving access to classrooms, installing more toilet facilities at the annex and improving those in the main block.

Sam also said that the ministry will employ a counsellor at the school by January and has promised to look into having police presence on the premises to deal with school violence and provide security.

PS Brown told Searchlight that work on the annex had been going on for some time “however, we’ve agreed with the union to rectify the situation and move forward.”

The teachers returned to normal duties on Wednesday November 29 while the students returned at the annex one week later.

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