Teachers union head pleased with school start, but some things need attention
IN RELATION to the COVID-19 protocols, things went smoothly on the first day of school, but in other areas there are some things that need to be sorted out.
Oswald Robinson, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) made this point while speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Monday outside the Kingstown Preparatory School (KPS) at Richmond Hill, where his child is a pupil.
Robinson said from his observations, things at the KPS went smoothly. He however noted that students of the KPS were promised more than one mask and that did not happen, while additional persons were needed to take temperature checks at the entrances.
“I think it’s basically a smooth setting in given the challenges,” Robinson told SEARCHLIGHT.
In relation to the overall reopening of school, Robinson said there are still certain issues outstanding.
He said the Buccament Bay Secondary School is still closed, while there are some issues at the Bequia Community High School where part of the roof was taken off, causing the students to be housed at the Learning Resource Centre.
He said also that the Union is monitoring a situation at the Calliaqua Anglican School where 55 students occupy one classroom, “and that is unacceptable.”
Robinson said the Mary Hutchinson Primary School, “still need (sic) a school”; persons north of the dry river need a state of the art facility while the Kingstown Anglican School — “that glove factory is unsatisfactory and it is time that the authorities find somewhere pleasant for the students.”
Going on, Robinson said that there are a number of issues relating to fencing at some of the nation’s schools and the SVGTU is hoping that the relevant authorities “would do the right thing.”
“Some work has been done and we must commend the authorities for that. Kingstown Government School has a more comfortable facility; at Park Hill, New Grounds, a lot of work has been done there but there are still a number of schools, their toilet facilities, they need to do some work on that,” Robinson said.
“I need to commend the Ministry for adhering to the call of the Teachers’
Union to really improve the physical infrastructure in terms of security and we are happy about that. We still have to do some on the ground checks to make sure all schools have security, but generally there has been some improvement,” Robinson added.
He noted also that the ease of the traffic coming into the KPS/CW Prescod areas is a good move while he is hoping that things are put in place in case it rains, as the schools may have to provide tents for checking temperatures.
“I still have to do some additional visiting to make sure things are in order,” the SVGTU head said while adding that the Gomea Methodist School is in need of a river defense system, as since 2013 when the country experienced flash flooding, the river removed a substantial part of the school property.
Robinson also spoke about toilet facilities at the school in South Rivers needing fixing and fencing needing to be addressed at the schools in Rose Hall and Mayreau. He said the Union Island Secondary school’s fencing needs to be looked at as animals sometimes roam on to the compound.
“But additionally I have seen some additional staff has been put in some schools and I wish everything thing goes well and I wish all the teachers, parents, students and the Ministry of Education a successful and productive school year and we would keep monitoring the situation and we would raise any issue that need to be raised,” Robinson stated.