BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 16, 2023 (SKNIS) – With just over two weeks to go before the opening of the 2023-2024 Academic School Year, the Ministry of Education is ensuring that all remedial work being undertaken at the Irishtown Primary School are completed so that teachers and students can return to the campus for face-to-face learning instruction on September 04, 2023.
The Ministry of Education commenced a project to improve the safety and security system at the Irishtown Primary School earlier this year following a senseless act of violence committed on the school’s premises.
“The nation would remember the tragic death of one of our security officers on the Irishtown Primary School campus, who happened to be a cousin of mine, and as a result, we had to relocate our students, and we decided that we would do some work on that school. Some of the work should have already been done over the many years but might have been neglected for whatever reasons. The Ministry of Education was very proactive in ensuring that this is an opportunity for us to present what another ‘safe school’ can look like and we set out to do that with a number of stakeholders,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley while speaking on the Wednesday, August 16 edition of the radio and television programme, InFocus.
Deputy Prime Minister Hanley was joined on the programme by Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Lisa Pistana, who highlighted some of the work completed to date, including the reinforcement of the school’s enclosure.
“As the Minister said, we had a very tragic event that happened at the school but out of tragedy I think comes positiveness, and so we banded together and identified as a ministry the areas that needed immediate work. One of them was the enclosures at the very front of the building so we put in enclosures so that persons can’t just walk right onto the compound because we have our children playing in that particular area from time to time. We also relocated the principal’s office. Before you would have to walk all the way into the school to almost the back of the school to get to the principal’s office. [That should be] one of the first faces that you meet, so we relocated it, refurbished the space and we’re just doing the final little touches to it now,” the Permanent Secretary said.
Mrs. Pistana stated that the roofing issues are being addressed this week. In addition, the floors of the upper classrooms that were experiencing some sagging were properly braced and a retaining wall was erected at the top section of the school to prevent further soil erosion.
“We also added additional security systems so as to make sure that our students and our teachers remain safe while they are on the campus. Those are just a few of the things we would have accomplished and like I said we have one or two things to complete but they are going to be completed before school starts and we are going to open up on September 4th,” Permanent Secretary Pistana said.
The education officials used their appearance on the programme to publicly express their profound gratitude to the parents, residents of the community and the corporate partners, including the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, St. Kitts Masonry Products, Surrey Paving, and the Garden Hotspurs community group, that came onboard to assist with some of the renovation work on the school.