BUT Chief: Three GB schools need attention
FN News Editor
One week in, the 2012/2013 academic year is in full swing and, while Grand Bahama was devoid of any major issues on opening day, The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) anticipates the loose ends at three public schools will be tied up by the end of the week.
BUT President Belinda Wilson, while giving an update on the start of the new school year Sunday, said she and Area Vice President Quinton Laroda visited a number of government schools last week and made certain observations at Lewis Yard Primary, High Rock Primary and Free Town Primary.
The Lewis Yard Primary School, which was relocated over the summer break to the St. Vincent de Paul School premises in Hunters at a cost of nearly $500,000, still has some repair work to be completed, she told The Freeport News.
Back in July, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald announced at a press conference several changes to the school system on the island, which included the relocation of the Lewis Yard School.
That revelation, for the most part, was welcomed with open arms as residents, particularly parents and guardians, in the area were concerned over the fact that students often times had to be released early when there were strong emissions in the air.
For years, there were concerns that the foul odor emanated from one or all of the neighboring industrial plants.
The move was sponsored by the government, The Bahamas Oil Refining Company International Limited (BORCO), the Grand Bahama Power Company and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
The new campus houses between150 to 200 students.
"We're happy that they now have a bigger campus and would be free from the odor that they would have suffered for many years in the Lewis Yard area, however, there is still a need for the air-condition units to be installed (and) the repairs need to be completed in the kitchen as they are going to be using it for the tuck shop area," Wilson said.
Although security officers are not members of the BUT and do not fall under her purview, Wilson said the union is concerned that there is no facility on campus to house them.
As for conditions in eastern Grand Bahama, Wilson said teachers and students were settling in well, however, she awaits the Ministry of Education's plan on transforming McLeans Town into a junior high school, starting with the seventh grade.
Minister Fitzgerald had also announced in July the transformation of Free Town Primary into a preschool and the decision to use the High Rock Primary School as the primary school for East Grand Bahama.
"We want to know of their plans for the new junior high school going forward. They do have a small group of seventh graders, however, we need to know what the plans are for grades eight and nine moving into the future," she said.
"We would like to know what courses and disciplines will be offered at the McLeans Town site in order for it to be a legitimate junior high school in that area."
As seventh, eighth and ninth graders are impressionable at that age, the BUT were not initially supportive of the re-integration of the Jack Hayward Junior and High Schools, Wilson said.
"I'm hoping that the examination results and the academics remain the same because this year Jack Hayward had good results 80 to 85 percent of the students graduated with a 2.0 GPA and above."
Wilson said all is also expected to go well today for 20 preschoolers starting at the new Free Town Preschool.
© 2012 The Freeport News