Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Ageing infrastructure at St Catherine basic schools concerns councillor

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Ebenezer Basic School in Mt Industry, St Catherine.
The pit toilet used by students at the Ebenezer Basic School in Mt Industry, St Catherine.
Fidolin Dillon (right), principal of Ebenezer Basic School in Mt Industry, St Catherine, shows councillor Roogae Kirlew the pit toilet the students have to use on a daily basis.
The pit toilet used by students at the Ebenezer Basic School in Mt Industry, St Catherine.

The ageing infrastructure now existing in several basic schools in Mount Industry is a major concern for St Catherine Municipal Cooperation councillor for that division, Roogae Kirlew.

He disclosed that there are 12 basic schools in the division, most of them in urgent need of attention to address basic infrastructural issues relating to the physical environment, sanitary facilities and regular water supply as well as refrigerators and stoves to store and prepare meals for students.

Kirlew told The Gleaner that an initiative started by him, in which he has been soliciting private-sector participation to address these issues, will now focus on the Ebenezer Basic school.

"In addition to all the infrastructure issues to be addressed, five of the 12 schools do not have flush toilets, so our objective going forward is to ensure that all these schools, most of which were established more than 40 years ago, are upgraded with modern facilities in place," Kirlew stated.

"For me, this is major. My experience is that the physical environment of these basic schools will largely impact learning."

He added, "Our first successful attempt to focus on the challenges existing in these schools came when we totally rebuilt the Lucky Hill Basic School, with assistance from the St Catherine Municipal Cooperation, putting in modern toilet fixtures and presented a refrigerator and stove to them."

According to Kirlew, who is also the principal of a primary and infant school in his division, he has partnered with a non-governmental organisation, Personal Community Empowerment Builders (PCEB), to address the problems at the Ebenezer Basic School.




"The infrastructure at Ebenezer and the others that we will tackle going forward have been woefully neglected. I am now reaching out to some overseas entities to come on board," he revealed, while alluding to what he said is the tardiness on the part of the Government to address the issues.

Meanwhile, principal of the Ebenezer Basic School, Fidolin Dillon, said she welcomes all the assistance she can get for the school.

"We really need the modern toilet facilities, our walls need painting, and based on the inadequate water supply, a storage tank would be vital," she said.

"The need for a refrigerator and a stove to store and prepare warm meals for the students cannot be overscored."

The school has 25 students enrolled, with four teachers attending to them.

Kirlew said work to build a modern flush toilet at the school will begin in two weeks.