The issue of maintenance at schools has always been of concern to Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harcourt Husbands.
Senator Husbands revealed this today while addressing the opening of the Inter-American Development Bank’s XI School Infrastructure Regional Workshop on Learning in 21st Century Schools, at Accra Beach Hotel.
While congratulating the IDB on planning and facilitating the three-day workshop that deals with School Maintenance Management, the Parliamentary Secretary lamented that Barbados was particularly weak in that area.
Acknowledging there were justifiable reasons, including not enough resources around to maintain standards, the former teacher also revealed that his Ministry had had to close a number of schools that were historic buildings because they had reached the point where they were not suitable for the 21st Century.
Regional delegates heard too that Barbadian schools were challenged by the vulnerability of building materials to the persistent effects of the weather, termites and other pests that included the green monkey and birds on the buildings.
“…In many places around an island, the effects of our salt laden winds are also very tough on buildings as well. More than this, we are also faced with an increasingly sensitive user group. We are finding persons less physically tolerant of dust and respiratory threats in general. We have seen a general increase in the incidence of asthma and sinus related maladies,” the Senator stated.
Acknowledging that these issues called for consistent attention to the quality of the physical environment provided, Mr. Husbands added that stringent legislation in the form of the Safety and Health at Work Act had been implemented to better ensure employers and all public facilities and users were adequately protected from hazards of any kind related to the physical environment in which they lived and worked.
He also noted that in tough economic times, there was a need to be even more ingenious with the investments made in the physical plant of schools and the strategies for making those investments sustainable.