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More than half a million spent to repair KGS – Baker

More than half a million spent to repair KGS – Baker

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More than half a million dollars was spent to get the Kingstown Government School ready for the new school year, following a fire which destroyed a wing of the institution on August 9, two weeks before classes were set to resume.{{more}}

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker, at a press conference on Monday, informed the public that the section was rebuilt at a cost of $329,792.40, with a further $218,333.90 allocated to furnishing and equipping that area.

Baker commended the contractors, JAG Construction Limited, for the work done in getting the facility up and ready in a space of two weeks.

“That was very commendable and we thank the contractor and his team for the support they have given to the Ministry of Education …. They had worked very quickly in comparison to some other civil works contracts we have had in the past,” she said.

She also thanked the National Lotteries Authority for their assistance in getting the school prepared in time for the new school term.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

In the same breath, the Permanent Secretary made an appeal for the care of institutions’ buildings, equipment and resources, which she said were becoming more and more difficult to replace.

“The world… is in the middle of a recession and sometimes we just can’t have things done as normally… and we want to ask the media and the community and everyone… to understand that they should work with their children and teach them to care the plant and equipment and the resources of government.

“It’s not easy to say government will replace it, because it is our own tax dollars that have to replace it,” Baker said.

“And we have all seen what is happening in the European countries, and we know that it’s getting more difficult because those countries are themselves reeling under the recession. How can they send the millions of grant dollars to us, especially when we have not demonstrated that we have been caring what we have received from project to project?”

The Permanent Secretary lamented that at times, the government receives assistance from external agencies to undertake a project, but when the opportunity comes around for another project, the requests are practically being repeated.

She said in the last two years, more than one million dollars had been allocated to furniture, with just under half of that amount to be spent this year alone.

“Essentially it means that the Chief Education Officer and her team will find it difficult to implement their programmes and initiatives on the technical side of the ministry, because if the Permanent Secretary has to keep replacing the chairs and the benches and the furniture, because children should not be standing in a classroom, how can the resources be put into teaching and learning, which is really what the Ministry of Education is about.

“How can you teach and learn a child which is standing? So, we need to take care of the resources, plant and equipment, so that we can put more monies into teaching and learning,” Baker added.

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