PHILIPSBURG–Teachers at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School in Dutch Quarter are fed up with the lack of attention the Ministry of Education is giving to their school. Teachers have been requesting immediate attention for short- and long-term solutions to the school’s problems since the previous school year.
Teachers drove to Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs’ office at the new Government Administration Building on Monday after school hours. The Minister did not accept the impromptu meeting with the teachers and told them to take up the issue with the Department of Education instead.
The teachers found their way to the offices of the Department of Education and were told by the Department that the head would meet with them at the school on Tuesday at 12:30pm. The teachers were not satisfied with the answer and decided to request an audience with Secretary-General of Education Jorien Wuite. She informed them that she would be at the school on Tuesday at 7:30am.
Issues affecting the school include lack of lighting in classrooms due to an apparent electricity short-circuit, no air conditioners working in the administrative and management offices, no functioning staff bathroom for more than 25 staff members, substandard student bathroom facilities, mosquitoes swarming the class rooms and lack of materials, cleaning supplies and a properly-functioning copy machine for teachers.
School manager Stuart Johnson told The Daily Herald on Monday, “As the school manager, I’m between a rock and a hard place, as the infamous expression goes. However, I wholeheartedly sympathise with my staff, as we all are experiencing what seem to be the new realities within education.
“Working conditions must be conducive for learning and healthy for our students as well as staff members. Endless reports, site visits and e-mail correspondences have been disseminated with regard to the growing concerns the school is facing.
“I have a deep passion for education and I would not be human if I didn’t stand up in support to see these concerns immediately remedied. I await to see the true heart and spirit of all, especially the elected and appointed Government officials that have an obligation to the populace.”
Minister Jacobs was also contacted by this newspaper and stated, “The issues at the school have my attention. The Public Education Division Head has assured me they have been working to resolve them and that the electrical issue was resolved [Monday – Ed.] afternoon with assistance from GEBE technical staff. Management will have to evaluate if the situation has been remedied when they return to school today.
“The Head will meet with the management and staff at the school today on this and other priorities in the interest of a safe and healthy school environment. I will receive an update thereafter.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/62076-mlk-teachers-fed-up-with-lack-of-attention