Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Thwaites fears drought may close some institutions - 200 water tanks to be disbursed

Published:Friday | September 4, 2015 | 9:00 AMAnastasia Cunningham

Although the Ministry of Education is taking all the necessary steps to try to minimise the impact of the ongoing drought on the schools, as the new academic year begins, there is fear that if the drought continues some schools may be forced to close.

"Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the new school year is coping with the drought. I do fear that if the drought continues, we may be forced to close some schools, especially those that pose a difficulty to get to. We have to be very realistic. However, we are willing to try every means possible and mobilise whatever source we can, to alleviate this difficulty. Closing the school is a last resort," Education Minister Ronald Thwaites stated at a press conference yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister.

He announced that as part of the plan to address this worrying issue, of the 300 schools that expressed a need for water and/or water storage, so far, they have purchased $5 million worth of water tanks for just over 200 schools. The National Water Commission has also committed to trucking water to those schools that are accessible.

"I am appealing to parents to send their child to school with a bottle of water. I further appeal to community members not to use the school's stored water, as that will disrupt the operations of the institution," Thwaites said.

With the hope that the drought will be over soon, the ministry said they have a list of the schools most in need, and will be closely monitoring them.

Principals are being asked to ensure they make contact with their regional office to ensure they have a steady supply of water. He also urged schools to use the drought crisis to teach students the importance of water conservation.

The ministry will also be introducing water harvesting mechanisms in as many schools as possible.

anastasia.cunningham@gleanerjm.com