...New locale sees mixed reaction
Teachers and students of the Brickdam Secondary School are reportedly pleased with their new abode, at the former St. Pius Primary in East La Penitence.According to the Headmistress, Mrs. Shandrina Welcome-Lee, they are not completely settled, as boxes are still to be unpacked, but she is very much pleased with the new building.
As she explained, the Ministry of Education has done extensive work to bring the facility up to speed and besides an office for the Deputy Headteacher, they have also built a Home Economics laboratory.
Work, she said, is currently being done to give them an Integrated Science laboratory, and proper fencing around the school.
Asked specifically about rumours going the rounds that the school could not be opened on time because of the lack of furniture, Mrs. Welcome-Lee said this was furthest from the truth, as there’s always been enough seating to accommodate the 450 students on roll.
She, however, said that what may have started the rumour was the fact that over 100 children were transferred by their parents for various reasons, chief among them being their distrust of the location.
But Mrs. Welcome-Lee and her staff have no such reservations. “We are fully comfortable,” she said, “and look forward to growing as a school. I hope parents allow their children to proceed with us.”
She was roundly supported by a teacher, who said: “I am satisfied with the building as a temporary location; it is a massive improvement from the previous building, and I am holding the Ministry to its word on being placed here for a year and a term.”
On the issue of security, she said, “Some parents worry about the area, however, promises were made by the Chief Educational Officer to increase security guards.”
Although many students are pleased with the new classroom setting, proper washroom facilities, and new canteen and a library, some are still timid because of the reputation the area has, being close to such trouble-spots as Laing Avenue and East and West Ruimveldt.
One Grade Seven student recalled being followed by a male one day, but thankfully, she was not harassed in any way, but still feared for her well-being due to the rumours.
She is not alone. Another teacher told the Guyana Chronicle, “I am not comfortable with the area, but students are advised to walk in groups as well as the teachers.”
Back in early June, teachers of the Brickdam Secondary did a sit-in after their numerous demands for better work and educational facilities fell on deaf ears.
They’d alleged that over the years, there were many complaints to the Ministry of Education pertaining to the hazardous and unsanitary conditions students and teachers faced daily.
Eventually, a decision was taken by the ministry to close down the dilapidated building.