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Consensus reached on stop-gap solution for Brickdam Secondary School

BrickdamsecThe Ministry of Education, teachers, parents and the Board of Governors of the Brickdam Secondary School have agreed on a stop gap solution for the school, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

Chief Education Officer (CEO), Ministry of Education, Olato Sam, during a press conference at the Ministry this afternoon, disclosed that the sides have agreed that the students will remain at the school to complete this term. This will give the Ministry of Education time to identify a new location to accommodate the students for the new academic year.

Sam also disclosed that the Ministry has already begun the process of acquiring land to construct a school to house both the Brickdam Secondary and Central High Schools, and that rehabilitation work would have commenced on Saturday June 11 at the Secondary School.

The stop gap solution was arrived at this morning following further consultation with the Board of Governors, the executives of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and teachers of the school, the CEO said.

The CEO also provided clarification on the issues leading up to the sit-in by the teachers and the earlier decision of the ministry to close the school.

He explained that Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, on June 9, 2016 received a letter from the teachers of Brickdam Secondary citing some issues and requesting an audience.

According to the CEO, the Minister agreed to meet the teachers on June 10, 2016 at 10:00am. The Ministry however, at approximately 9:15 hours on June 10, received information that despite the appointment to meet with the Minister, the teachers of the Brickdam Secondary were engaged in a sit in.

The CEO said that he visited the school and engaged the teachers, pointing out that the teachers had not yet formally engaged the Ministry and that such extreme action ran contrary to established procedure for resolving matters  affecting them..

Sam said that the teachers were urged to organise themselves to facilitate an engagement to arrive at an amicable solution.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the CEO, the Advisor to the Minister along with the Chief Buildings Engineer and officers of the Georgetown Department of Education, met with the teachers of the school and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) representatives on the afternoon of June 10, to address the issues.

The CEO said that coming out of that meeting was an agreement that, the more immediate issues raised would be addressed by the engineer over the weekend; the ministry would devise a plan of action over the next few days for the relocation of the school at the beginning of the new academic year while the more long-term solution was being addressed; and teachers were asked to complete the term at the current location allowing adequate time for the new plan to be instituted.

The rehabilitation works commenced on June 11 at the school and the Head teacher engaged the Ministry on the morning of June13 to devise strategies to facilitate the completion of the term at the location, Sam said.

Unfortunately, the teachers failed to honor the agreement arrived at and continued their industrial action refusing to teach until they were placed in a completely new environment.

Sam said that this was what forced the Ministry to devise the other plan to facilitate the students completing their end of year assessments while meeting the demands of the teachers. Teachers were assigned to other schools in Georgetown while students were assigned to the following A Grade Schools: North Georgetown Secondary, Christ Church Secondary and North Ruimveldt Multilateral, as a temporary measure until a permanent solution could be devised.

The CEO also defended the Ministry’s initial decision to move the teachers. He explained that the Ministry attempted to put in place a measure to facilitate the students completing their work. “With every passing day, another day was lost in relation to the students being able to complete their end of year assessment,” the CEO said.

He pointed out that at this stage in the academic year, where students are actually fully prepared and are in examination mode, “to actually not have that happen is a disservice to them and really causes more problems than one can possible imagine and our attempt was to find a more immediate solution to the problem,” he said.

“The teachers basically gave us little choice in the matter. They said that they refuse to teach in the buildings and given that reality, one can appreciate that the ministry had little option in relation to what they could do. Everything led to actually placing teachers outside of that building,” Sam added.

He pointed out that the ministry is convinced that the measures put in place thus far, regarding Brickdam Secondary, are in the interest and safety of the teachers and students alike. He said that the Ministry will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the rehabilitated works to the school are completed as necessary and any potential for any incidents are minimised.

 According to the CEO, the Ministry has been aware for some time now that both Brickdam and Central High Schools needed to be relocated and have been actively involved in the process of facilitating that.

He said that from the feedback received from the Ministry’s Building Units, many of the issues at these two schools are structural and cannot be resolved from any rehabilitation action and, whilst the Ministry has been working in the short term to make the school functional, it has also been working towards the ultimate solution of relocating both schools.

  • george wiltshire

    It is time Guyanese get up and fight for their Rights. I am so glsad to see a group of educated persons demanding their rights.

  • MEMES Unlimited

    Where in the Minister of Education in a matter of such enormous importance regarding the personal safety, welfare and education of the teaching staff and students…of over 400 individuals??…ranting about the Guyana Times article on some store “Alim Shah’s” regarding the uniform voucher program.

    At multiple levels, this administration is demonstrating a laid back, non-focused and uncaring temperament….the vendors “relocation”, the 50% salary increase, the Procurement Board not activated, issuance of contracts outside of the Procurement Board SOP’s, massive and unacceptable spending of the people’s money in the huge celebrations….(with huge economic boom spin off??), massive tax increases during a major economic contraction, non-release of the names of contractors used for the “very selective areas” city clean-up campaign, almost zero safety gear accorded to the city clean-up workers…bare hands and feet in trenches with massive bacterial infection, escalating crime wave amidst false declarations of crime downturn especially now that Canada has issued a “TRAVEL ADVISORY” listing unbridled criminal acts in Guyana ranging from assaults/pickpockets/purse snatching/house break ins/armed robberies/car thefts/car jacking/hot areas at Buxton, Lusignan, Friendship, Annandale (KN 6.16.16), and then a further release of unnamed prisoners into an already fractured landscape for further mayhem….and reiterating…the Brickdam Secondary School fiasco at a time when end of the year exams are imminent and such disruption would be highly detrimental to the kids advancement??!!!

    • Col123

      You left out eight other noteworthy items …lack of space eh!…more and more, we can see the strangling of our economy..I have lost trust in the PNC as being a decent steward of our economy…

    • Gtloyal

      MEMES Unlimited, fortunately or unfortunately, the people prefer to work hard and honestly to fix all that you mention and that are a direct spinoff of the neglect and abandon that the country suffered under the corrupt drug lords that ran the show for 23 years.
      The criminal acts committed in those villages you mentioned also happened during their time. How shamefull it is to see someone who knows what went on and probably participated ,demanding a perfect country from a government of one year. Tell me: Did the Brickdam school deteriorate in one year? Did the crime started last year? Didn’t the previous president start the release of prisoners by pardoning a child killer? And on the topic of releasing names: can your people release the name or names of those who received the US 5M from the Chinese for the telephone company deal?

  • MEMES Unlimited

    An objective analysis
    conducted with respect to the student’s requirement for a safe and familiar
    school/teaching environment.

    Well….lots of allegations
    and aspersions blithely sprinkled in the blogosphere by yours truly.

    I object strongly to ANY
    government’s unethical and unilateral conduct against its citizens. Most importantly, secondary school students
    certainly qualify for one of the highest levels of consideration by any

    “Neglect and abandonment” mentioned by you clearly indicates some
    personalized level of bitterness and sense of “abandonment”. Myself, I have
    never waited on any Govt. or party for any handouts or special favors since
    hard and intelligent work is my forte, literally 7 days per week. I raised and
    spent hundreds of millions of G$ in my business over several years, in a
    transparent and accountable manner, as per statement of funds declarations long
    before any transparency laws currently enacted…and still continue to reinvest
    and expand accordingly.

    Bureaucracy and red tape
    resident in many govt. departments (local/International) is stifling and
    regressive to me and businesses and I absolutely steer clear of them after
    monthly/annual fulfillment of legal obligations.

    The villages mentioned by
    the Canadian Travel Advisory is respectfully their intelligence gathering
    process; probably more efficient than ours…you think??

    Over the years I hired
    multiple individuals from those very same villages, and payed them way above
    the national average, since they are skilled and very hard working people and
    many times more honest than others….I screened and selected carefully as per business
    norms. My most prominent social prerequisite for all employees….no domestic
    violence to wife or kids or I can be their worst enemy…legally.

    Yes, more than likely,
    the school’s deterioration must have accelerated within the last 12 months due
    to the high traffic usage and some of the “grand” celebration’s monies could
    have been better spent in renovation works.

    The crime wave’s genesis
    (graft, corruption, nepotism) initiated during Burnham’s time, slightly abated
    during Hoyte’s time and resurged during Jagdeo’s tenure, as the economy surged,
    and wealth grew exponentially across the board (World Bank, IMF reports)…sorry
    you felt left out!!!…maybe not working hard and smart enough.

    The Ramoutar child killer
    release is indefensible and reprehensible. The US5M deal…ask the man of harm
    since his express excursion “purpose” was to ascertain same.

    In conclusion I am not a
    narrow minded “GT Loyal’ but a Guyana Loyal, not with idle chit chat
    and lofty unattainable expectations, with investment of very hard earned dollars
    and providing employment for dozens of my people of all races, ethnicities and
    religious pursuits.

  • george wiltshire

    afraid to speak knowing how victimized they would have been. Why do you think they are out?

  • george wiltshire

    afraid to speak because they knew how victimized they would have been. Why do you think the ppp is out of power so that the people can be free to voice their opinion.