A pigeon infestation and makeshift furniture were among the problems that greeted teachers and students of the Covent Garden Primary School on Monday when the new school year began.
The teachers, who did not want to be named, told Stabroek News that they have been plagued with the issues for a lengthy time and despite frequent complaints to the Regional Education Office and the Ministry of Education, not much has been done to remedy the situation and improve working conditions at the school.
A visit to the school by this newspaper found that one teacher’s table was made from scrap wood, while the cupboards in their classroom were broken.
One teacher explained that they have not been able to use the school library for the past year as it has become infested with pigeons. The teacher stressed that numerous attempts have been made by the school to address the situation but it became uncontrollable. She noted that over the weekend, mesh was placed over open spaces under the roof to prevent the pigeons from entering the building. However, she said on Monday morning the pigeons could be found inside the school. “Some mornings when we come to school, we have to clean pigeon poop… it is not safe or even healthy for us to be in this building and it seems like no one is concerned over the situation,” the teacher lamented.
In addition, she explained that the school yard was weeded on Sunday and the grass was not picked up, leaving the school compound untidy. The garbage bins in the school yard were also observed to be overflowing.
“Look at our school yard they slashed it and it is left like this… this is the condition of the yard the children are supposed to play in. We need better facilities…,” the teacher said.
She further pointed out that teachers have to spend their own money to buy stationery and teaching aids to make their classrooms accommodating and child-friendly. “They give us three sheets of cardboard for the term, one black and one red ink pen, one black marker, one red marker and an Elmer’s glue and that is it for the term. When they [Education Officers] come, they want to see a child-friendly classroom and if you don’t have that kind of classroom, they write you down… These are the things we are striking for… they need to treat us better,” lamented the teacher.
The teachers hoped the situation at the school can be remedied soon so they can work in a more accommodating environment.