Mahdia tragedy: President says children’s education must be supported as families raise concerns


By Vishani Ragobeer

In the wake of a deadly fire at the female dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School in Region Eight (Potaro- Siparuni), some parents have raised safety concerns about sending their children away from their communities to further their studies.

But President Dr. Irfaan Ali has made an impassioned appeal for parents to continue supporting their children’s education. He also promised parents that his government will do all that it can to support their children’s educational pursuits.

On Thursday, as hundreds of people gathered in Micobie for the funeral of 11 girls who perished in the recent fire, one villager, John Andre highlighted how difficult it is for children in the lower Potaro community to further their studies.

He pointed out that children often traverse difficult roadways to get to school. Some, like the girls who passed away, stay in dormitories that are closer to their schools but far away from their homes.

“Educating our children is difficult, it’s hard,” Andre said.

Still, he pointed out that families encourage their children to pursue their educational goals and aspirations because it means they can eventually live better lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities.

The recent fire has, however, left families questioning whether these sacrifices are worth it. Because of safety concerns at the dorms too, Andre said parents are even more worried.

So he pleaded with President Ali to help Micobie and other communities improve their access to quality educational opportunities.

The President committed to doing that. In fact, he said he will work with the communities to see what solutions can be crafted to improve children’s access to education.

“This is not the time to step back and step out of educational goals and aspirations.

“This is the time to lift the dreams, the legacies and aspirations of these children in the children we have left,” the Head of State emphasised.

Previously, he committed to exploring whether a secondary school could be constructed in Micobie.  A total of 20 children, 19 girls, and one boy, perished in the recent fire. The children have all been laid to rest.

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