Ministry raps contractor over school repairs

Guyana Chronicle
January 10, 2003

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THE Ministry of Education has expressed dissatisfaction with the rehabilitation by the contractor of the St. Winefrede's Secondary School in Georgetown.

According to Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hydar Ally the contractor left unfinished work and cleaning and tidying up of the building was incomplete.

Ally told the Chronicle that the contractor was "unable to deliver the services he was contracted to do and should have completed the job by November last but failed to do so."

This has resulted in great inconvenience to the teachers and pupils.

Consequently, the Education Ministry will be sub-contracting the cleaning and tidying of the building to ensure it attains a habitable state, and the school should be ready for resumption of classes in about a week, Ally said.

Following the re-opening of schools for the Easter Term last Monday teachers and students refused to occupy the building, charging that it was in an uninhabitable state.

Headmistress of the school, Ms. Avril Crawford, also General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), during the last school term, had identified several physical problems which affected the proper functioning of the institution.

These she had said included the poor state of the fence and windows, appalling toilet facilities, inadequate lighting facilities, poor ventilation and overcrowding.

She had noted that among the most pressing problems was the condition of the fence, and pointed out that it posed a serious security hazard because the school is located near the road and children could have easily stepped through it and get into contact with vehicular traffic.

Students could have also escaped from school without being detected, which can pose several complicated problems, she said.

The school originally was a primary one, but was converted into a secondary institution in the year 2000 and was built to accommodate about 400 students but the student population grew to more than 550 students.

This was causing severe overcrowding and discomfort, Ms. Crawford had explained, adding that the discomfort was compounded because the children being of secondary school age are bigger in stature.

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