By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
While stating that his ministry will implement a shift system for public schools in light of the hurricane last week, Minister of Education Myron Walwyn also said the old Clarence Thomas building in Pasea Estate will be transformed into a school.
“We had gotten the old Clarence Thomas building for the library. We’re gonna have to use that and accommodate it as a school,” said Walwyn.
He said public schools will reopen in a month-and-half. “It’s possible [to start school by then]. We’ve already looked at the schools that are usable. I had a team go out yesterday and start to do the bill of quantity so that we can know what is the cost to do remedial works for the schools that were damaged.”
“I met with the principals yesterday and we worked out some of the possibilities of how we’re going to do it; what subjects we’re going to be offering in all things; and how we are going to address the issue, particularly, for Grade 11 and Grade 12 students who have to write CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) and CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination). So, those will be the priority for us for the secondary section,” added Walwyn.
As it relates to the shift system, the education minister said the morning shift will run from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm while the afternoon shift will start at 1:00 pm and end at 5:00 pm.
“That way children will get home before the curfew. So, we have to work out things like bus transportation. We have to work out things like food because I’m sure we’ll have to feed them,” he stated.
Most teachers are expats who might leave
In the meantime, Walwyn said an assessment is being done on the number of educators who will be available when school starts.
“We have a large percentage of teachers who are not from here. We need to find out what they going to be doing – whether they’re going to be staying or whether they’re going, so we know at least what the complement of staff will look like, and what the skill-sets will be in terms of the various subjects to students,” Walwyn told BVI News.
“We may have to alter the local curriculum depending on whether or not we have the persons who can deliver the content,” the minister added.
Walwyn, in the meanwhile, said seven schools can become ‘useable’ with remedial work. They are: The Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, Ebenezer Thomas, Althea Scatliffe, Willard Wheatley, Alexandrina Maduro, Ivan Dawson, and Joyce Samuel primary schools.
“There is also a particular part of the business block of Elmore Stout High School. That is something that we are looking at. The structure is pretty sound,” Walwyn said.
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