Education Ministry shuts Brickdam Secondary school doors

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2016, 20:41 by Denis Chabrol

The doors of Brickdam Secondary School have been shut indefinitely by the Ministry of Education, following a protest on Friday by teachers over the deplorable conditions at the institution.

This was confirmed by a high ranking official of the ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to reports, the decision was made following a meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 between officials from the Ministry of Education and the Teaching Service Commission (TSC). A subsequent meeting between those two agencies, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and staff of the school was held on Tuesday afternoon at the School’s Brickdam location.

According to the source, the Ministry intends to disburse teachers to schools in Regions three and four, including Georgetown, while students are likely to be placed in secondary schools within their area of residence.

However, General Secretary of GTU, Coretta McDonald, who spoke to Demerara Waves Online News prior to the commencement of the second meeting on Tuesday afternoon, said that the union is proposing that the Ministry relocate the students and teachers to Enterprise Primary since that institution is currently underpopulated.

She explained that Enterprise Primary has accommodation for 1100 students but the population there presently is just about 200, while the population at Brickdam Secondary is just about 300. Given the availability of space, she recommended the students and teachers be transferred to Enterprise Primary, to avoid having to disburse them across regions three and four – a move she opined is likely to have repercussions.

“I think the officials at the Ministry are thinking differently [from us]. We are hoping that while they are going elsewhere with their suggestions, that they are thinking about the repercussions. If we spit up the students and teachers, then it means that we will no longer have Brickdam Secondary. But if they want to maintain Brickdam Secondary, scattering them all over will pose difficulties” the General Secretary said.

Demerara Waves Online News understands that the school currently functions without a canteen, while the staff room is only capable of facilitating three teachers. On Friday last, approximately 20 teachers downed tools in protest, decrying other conditions including the lack of adequate toilet facilities, lack of space in classrooms and numerous fire hazards.

Contrary to what Chief Education Officer (CEO) Olato Sam had said, teachers maintained that they made several complaints to the relevant authorities at the Education Ministry, but these complaints appear to have fallen on deaf ears.