Parents issue ultimatum over Parfait Harmonie school repairs

Parents of pupils attending the Parfait Harmonie School say they are prepared to stage another protest if their demands are not met by the end of the month.

“Mr Sam from the ministry was here and also some people from the region and he told us that they have $14 million set aside to fix the problems, but so far we haven’t seen any results. If they don’t do something by this month end then we are going to protest again,” a parent said.

On Monday, parents mounted a protest over the insanitary conditions that they say the children have to put up with. The parents had padlocked the school, resulting in classes for its 525 pupils being suspended for the remainder of the day.

Parents and children say that alligators have made their homes under the school
Parents and children say that alligators have made their homes under the school

During a visit to the school yesterday, several parents told Stabroek News that they felt the Ministry of Education was not fulfilling its promise to repair the school after a fire destroyed the section that housed the nursery school pupils, the school’s library, the office of the primary school’s headmistress and a kitchen.

“This fire happened since March and we thought they would have done something before school reopened. The school has over 500 students when it is only supposed to have about 250. These children have to sit sometimes three and four in a small bench and that is not good,” one parent said.

Chief Education Officer Olato Sam told Stabroek News that the ministry is now in the process of finding a contractor and making the necessary preparations to start work on the school. He said $14 million has just been approved to fund the project.

One parent said that among the problems the school has, is the lack of exits. “This school has no windows, just some holes in the wall. They have doors at the front, but none at the back. If anything were to happen, what would happen to those children at the back at the school?” the parent asked.

The headmistress’s ‘office’ in the school corridor
The headmistress’s ‘office’ in the school corridor

Meanwhile, the headmistress of the school is currently without an office and is forced to occupy a small space on the corridor. She had been using a small portion of school canteen as a temporary office but it proved to be too cramped and lacked proper ventilation.

Another parent said there were several reports that there are alligators under the school. “Them children does come home and say how alligators deh under the school. Under there the water is stagnant and we are hearing that they are going to sandfill under there, so we are looking to see what they are going to do. We need all of these problems fixed,” the parent said.

“These children getting rashes on their skin and the teachers complaining steady about mosquitoes and so on at this school,” the parent added. “GPL came to see about the light, but they say that they cannot put the meter there because of the part that was destroyed by the fire. The other day there was no water to flush the toilet, and I see they bring a man to install a pump so that the water can get into the tank.”

The $60 million school was opened in 2011 to cater to the school aged children from the new housing scheme at Parfait Harmonie and its environs.

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