FOR the first two weeks of the new term, Diego Martin North Secondary has been closed because there are no washroom facilities for teachers. The school is one of several which suffered structural damage during last month’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake.
Newsday understands a wall in the female washroom in the administration block is leaning and that block is now closed. A concerned parent who only gave his name as Steven, said yesterday that it was very frustrating for his son to be losing valuable class time.
“Why is it taking so long for the Ministry of Education to fix the school for teachers to have a proper environment to work? Are the students going to get back extra time in school to make up for all the days they have missed? It is very frustrating for my son to be losing out on his education.”
He said the school is already challenged with other issues and it is unfair to the children not to be in school. TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai said the school cannot function because of the lack of teachers’ washrooms.
“The administration block has been deemed unsafe and has been closed, and up to date the ministry has not addressed the matter. Therefore teachers cannot remain in the school. The question of teachers using the same washrooms as the students is a definite no-no.
“The ministry will have to look at the issue of the wall in the administration block and try to rectify the problem. There are teachers who are coming from as far as San Fernando and one would want to use a washroom after their travel. Hence the reason teachers have been leaving the school.”
He said if there are no washrooms for teachers in a school, the ministry will have to close the school until the problem is rectified.
While thanking Newsday for brining the issue to the ministry’s attention, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said he will speak with his Permanent Secretary to set up a meeting with the school staff.
“This is an issue which we need to discuss. We will have a meeting with the staff to see how best we can resolve this issue. Every school which remains closed is of great concern to us, because it means students are being deprived of an education,” Garcia said.