Christ Church School fire: CSEC students will be prioritized

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Hours after a fire destroyed the Christ Church Secondary School, Education Minister Priya Manickchand said options are being considered to prioritise finding alternative accommodation for the students preparing for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams.

The fire started just after 17:00hrs at the school at Camp and Middle streets, Georgetown.

Firefighters responded to the fire with three water tenders and additional tenders were deployed as the fire continued to rage at the school for just over two hours.

The school has over 500 students, 39 teachers and nine auxiliary staff.

Manickchand addressed the media and said that the Caribbean Examinations Council is already considering options to ensure that the students who were preparing to write examinations will “be in the best position possible” when the exams start in May.

But, the Minister said there is an issue with finding space to ensure that these students will not experience learning loss.

A section of the school during the fire (Photo: News Room/ January 12, 2023)

“It’s very difficult to accommodate and make a school without a whole school available – or not as empty right now – and so it’s going to be a task for us which we will put our minds to,” she said.

Manickchand said these students and their parents will be engaged soon to decide on a way forward. She urged the students to stay focused and continue to prepare for the exams so that they can “rise above this.”

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn was also at the scene and said that communities must play a role in protecting public property.

Christ Church Secondary is the third school in Georgetown that has been destroyed by a fire within the last year.

This A List school also had a fire last week which started inside one of the school’s laboratories and all combustible materials were removed.

Unfortunately, this fire destroyed the building.

“I want to call on all the communities to stand in support of the education system and to watch out and to look out for the nation’s assets in terms of the educational infrastructure. It would appear strange that within two or three weeks we can have a fire at the same building at a prominent location in Georgetown where hundreds of children are,” Benn said as he asked the public to help protect the nation’s assets.

Stating that he is not speculating on the cause of the fire, Benn said it is a huge blow for the nation to lose yet another school. However, the Minister said the fires also indicate that better preventions must be put in place.

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