51 Trinidad schools affected by flooding

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) On­ly sev­en per cent of schools across Trinidad were af­fect­ed by last week­end’s dev­as­tat­ing floods.

Speak­ing at a joint press con­fer­ence at the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­tho­ny Gar­cia said 51 schools were di­rect­ly or in­di­rect­ly af­fect­ed by the flood­ing which wreaked hav­oc across large ar­eas of Trinidad.

Gar­cia said 22 schools – 12 pri­ma­ry, two sec­ondary and eight ear­ly child­hood care and ed­u­ca­tion (EC­CE) cen­tres—fell with­in com­mu­ni­ties di­rect­ly af­fect­ed by flood­ing and re­mained closed to­day.

Twen­ty schools (ten pri­ma­ry, five sec­ondary and five EC­CEs) in close prox­im­i­ty of the flood-hit com­mu­ni­ties were al­so af­fect­ed, as stu­dents and teach­ers had dif­fi­cul­ties ac­cess­ing them through flood­ed roads.

He al­so re­vealed that eight pri­ma­ry schools and one sec­ondary school were still be­ing used as emer­gency shel­ters.

In terms of turn out of stu­dents and teach­ers with­in the sev­en school dis­tricts, Gar­cia said he could on­ly pro­vide pro­vi­sion­al fig­ures as his staff were still com­pil­ing in­for­ma­tion.

In the Ca­roni dis­trict, which was amongst the worse hit, Gar­cia said pri­ma­ry schools had 52 per cent turnout of stu­dents and 73 per cent of teach­ers, while sec­ondary schools had 32 per cent turnout of stu­dents and 54 per cent of teach­ers.

In the North East­ern dis­trict, there was 21 per cent stu­dent turnout and 59 per cent of teach­ers in sec­ondary schools, while there was 44.2 per cent of stu­dents and 69.4 per cent of teach­ers at sec­ondary schools in South East Trinidad.

The St Patrick dis­trict record­ed the high­est at­ten­dance num­bers, with 83 per cent of stu­dents and teach­ers be­ing present.

“That tells me that de­spite the hard­ships, teach­ers made every ef­fort to come out to school so that they can min­is­ter to the stu­dents,” Gar­cia said.

He al­so said the sta­tis­tics showed that Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to shut down the coun­try was cor­rect.

“It was our re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to en­sure our stu­dents were pro­vid­ed with qual­i­ty ed­u­ca­tion, which is their right. We are do­ing every­thing pos­si­ble to en­sure we did not short­change our stu­dents,” he said.

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