Christ Church School fire update: Students to be relocated next week; talks start with CXC about SBAs

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2023, 21:38 by Denis Chabrol

The Christ Church Secondary School engulfed in flames.

The more than 500 students, who attended the now destroyed Christ Church Secondary School on Camp and Middle Streets, Georgetown are to be relocated from next week Monday, and already the Ministry of Education is consulting the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) about options for students whose records have been destroyed, officials said at the fire scene.

“We are talking to CXC, we have gotten a couple of options and want to examine what will be in the best interest of these children,” Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News at the fire scene. She said the the students would be consulted and provided the options and “let’s see how we can cross this together.”

The fire started shortly after 5 PM, Thursday, January 11, 2022 and firefighters from various stations across Georgetown responded. They were backed up by Emergency Medical Technicians, Guyana Power and Light technicians and police. The fire, aided by a steady north-east wind, quickly crawled through the decades-old wooden and concrete building.

Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, Saddam Hussain said the school had 39 teachers, nine ancillary staff and 502 students who would all have to be relocated to other schools. He urged parents and guardians to go to the Ministry of Education’s Georgetown Department, 68 Brickdam, Georgetown.

The raging inferno occurred about one week after a smaller fire at that school’s laboratory, prompting authorities to remove all the chemicals there. “It is very strange that all of a sudden it becomes very combustible,” he said. Education Minister Manickchand  later added that the building was rewired and certified.

The Minister of Education said CXC has been asked to explore the options that are available to students, whose School Based Assessments (SBAs) or lab books have been destroyed by the blaze, to be in the best position possible for their examinations in a few months time.

Ms Manickchand urged the Christ Church Secondary School students to surmount this difficult period and work towards success. “To the students of Christ Church, let’s stand together. This is your chance to show the world, to show everyone that a fire is not going to stop you,” she said. Ms Manickchand advised the Fourth and Fifth Form students to “put your heads down for  the next few months… concentrate on your work and let us rise up from this together.”

Christ Church Secondary School is now the third government-run educational institution to have been destroyed by fire in recent months; the first having been North Ruimveldt Multilateral School in June, 2021 and the second St George’s Secondary School in July, 2022. Those are in addition to the arson that destroyed the Mabaruma Secondary School in September 2021.