Principal of the Elliott Belgrave Primary School, Esther Wilkinson (left), led Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw (second from right) and education officials on a tour of the school today. (S. Medford/BGIS)

Two schools, which had major works prior to the return to face-to-face classes, were visited today by a team of officials from the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, and their conditions were found to be satisfactory.

The Elliott Belgrave Primary School and Coleridge and Parry School, both in St. Peter, were recently worked on by contractors, including CRS Maintenance Building, in conjunction with the Ministry’s Educational Technical Management Unit (ETMU).

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, speaking to media representatives at the Coleridge and Parry School, where the tour ended, said: “I must say that we are very pleased with the outcome. At the Elliott Belgrave School, there was major repairs to the roof and we’re pleased with the work there.  We’ve come to the Coleridge and Parry School and we are exceedingly pleased with the work done by the team CRS Maintenance Building.  This work was supposed to take a number of months; however, they fast tracked the work and they were able to get the work completed in a few weeks.”

She continued: “I am pleased also with the fact that the students are settled at both schools and I must commend the principals and the management teams, at both schools, for the work that they have done in getting the students back to school. I know that at the Coleridge and Parry School they started two weeks later than the scheduled date February 21; they started on March 7. However, all of the students were in by the second day of that week; by March 9.  And I must say that the team really pulled out the stops and they seem very comfortable here.”

Also registering her satisfaction at the way things were progressing since the reopening of school, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw revealed that she had visited a number of schools and observed that children were generally following the protocols.

“They are wearing their masks. They are physically distanced and they are using sanitisers provided by the sanitising stations that are there.  As you would have seen in the newspapers recently, every nursery, primary and special needs schools have hand sanitising stations within the classroom and that is to facilitate the kind of cleanliness that we need in this environment,” she said.

Media representatives also heard that meetings had been convened with stakeholders – the unions, principals’ associations and principals, as well – to discuss how things had been going.  Noting that while there may be a few challenges, which were not insurmountable, the Chief Education Officer stressed that the Ministry would be listening to stakeholders to determine how collaboratively they could resolve the challenges that confront them.   

Meanwhile, asked about the examinations to be taken by students this year, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw stated that the Ministry was on track to hold the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Exam on July 5, but the date was still tentative.  

“As you would have seen in the media, it is tentative because we don’t know exactly how things are going to go in this COVID-19 environment. However, we are working towards that date. And, it seems as if the teachers and the students, they are doing what is necessary to make sure that they are prepared for that particular date,” she explained.

With respect to other exams, including those from CXC, she said: “We are getting ready for that as well. The principals and the teachers are working along with the students at the secondary level – those who are doing CSEC; those who are doing CAPE; those who are doing the CVQs and the other examination, like City and Guilds.”

And, she commended the teachers for the work they continue to do, noting that some worked beyond the call of duty “to help our children reach the goals that they have set out for them and the children have set out for themselves”.

Also on tour were the Deputy Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson; Education Officer (Secondary School), Henderson Wiltshire, and members of the ETMU.

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