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Education ministry gets blasted for closure of Ave Maria Infant School

By SNO Staff

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Julian Monrose

(SNO) — The closure of the Ave Maria Girls Infant School is not going down well with the National Council of and for Persons With Disabilities (NCPD) and the Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU).

Both organizations are now blaming the Ministry of Education for the shutdown, saying the disruption of classes was avoidable.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced that the school will be closed on Thursday and Friday this week for construction works being carried out to make mobility easier for students with disabilities.

Reports are that the construction, which began earlier in the month, has been a source of discomfort to students and teachers alike.

The NCPD appeared unhappy at the attention that the matter has drawn.

“Any responsible school administrator, principal, Ministry of Education official could have foreseen the situation, could have taken quiet, calm, commonsense-steps, simply to relocate the class to a ground floor without any improper attention being drawn to this case,” Merphilus James, president of the NCPD told the media on Thursday.

The SLTU was concerned over the timing of the construction.

“In another six or seven weeks, we will have Easter break when the works can be done,” Julian Monrose, president of the SLTU, told HTS. “Next week we have Independence, so it’s a long weekend. They could have closed school the Thursday, begin the work and complete it before the weekend is over.”

He noted that the approach was to hurry and do something “piecemeal” and by Monday things would be a mess.

“And the ministry is demanding that teachers come over the weekend to put things in place,” Monrose said. “This is certainly not fair to the teachers.”

Although the school was closed, teachers were required to report to work and the SLTU is unhappy about the directive from the ministry.

“The ministry is being disrespectful to teachers,” Monrose remarked. “The ministry closes school today, ask the children because the conditions are not right, asked parents to keep the children home but insisted that teachers must report to a compound that everybody else have been complaining of affecting their health. If the ministry cherished teachers and what they do, if they can shut the building, the compound down for the children, they would have shown some regard for the health of the teachers and ask the teachers to stay home.”

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