Some 300 students of the East Ruimveldt Secondary school in Georgetown should attend classes more comfortably in about five months’ time when a new $175 million building is completed.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, who addressed a gathering at the school on Monday, explained that this expansion is being pursued in response to long standing spacing issues at schools across the country.
“One of the consequences (of more children returning to schools) was that we didn’t have enough space.
“The whole space issue was an issue facing the Ministry for the last couple years and it wasn’t fixed, so it faced us squarely when we came back into schools for face-to-face education,” Minister Manickchand said.
Importantly, she related, the Ministry’s cash grant scheme and its “Operation Recovery” plan also saw more children being brought back into schools for face-to-face classes after the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the return of more children to classrooms is a relief, the spacing issue demanded immediate solutions.
At the East Ruimveldt school, specifically, it was either the children be sent to other schools where there was more space or accommodated in army tents in the school yard.
After engagements among stakeholders, including the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA), Minister Manickchand said it was decided that the five Grade Seven classes will be housed in the tents.
According to the ministry’s Special Projects Officer Ron Eastman, a modern, flat building encompassing ten classrooms will be constructed to ease those spacing issues.
The new building will also include an administrative block, outfitted with separate washroom facilities.
Eastman said the construction of the new building is expected to last five months. Delph Construction has been awarded the contract for the expansion.