Seating arrangement in Grake K at Calliaqua Anglican School.

An open letter to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education

By A Very Concerned Parent

Sir, it is my understanding that the Calliaqua Anglican School is heavily populated with inadequate facilities to house over 320 students. I have learnt that in Grades K, 1, 2 and Grade 5, the classrooms, which were meant to house 25 students each now have an average 45 students in a 24-foot by 24-foot room, with a promise of more students who will transfer in before Monday, Sept. 7, when school reopens.

I have some questions. Have you or your school inspectors gone to the Calliaqua Anglican School to see the conditions in which students are supposed to learn and produce excellent results? And if so, what were the solutions applied to these problems?

Chalkboard, bookcase and cupboard used to separate classes in a small space. It also blocks the free flow of air.

Are you aware that the Grade 2 classroom is sandwiched between two buildings and has very little ventilation and no room for teachers to sit? Are you aware that COVID-19 poses a real threat to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including our children and that some level of social distancing must be maintained?

Are you aware that there is a serious outbreak of dengue and that rooms, especially classrooms, should be well ventilated, with no place for mosquitoes to hide? Isn’t proper ventilation a requirement in your list of COVID-19 protocols for schools? Are you aware that extremely hot and dusty conditions affect students’ and teachers’ performance and, more so, their health?

The lights must be on in this classroom because it is a bit dark and this will generate more heat.

I have learnt that a wonderful suggestion was made to readjust the partitions in a few classes to gain more space, so that students can be comfortable and teachers will have a place to sit. Has that suggestion been taken up seriously?

The students have been out for five months? The temporary structures are wooden. With all the distribution we have seen, we cannot say that the country did not have building material. Therefore, why weren’t two more classrooms built? It was boasted that the structures at the temporary site were built in 18 days. Therefore, constructing two classrooms should be a breeze.  The students at the Calliaqua Anglican School and, by extension, their parents as major stakeholders in the education system, deserve much better. The hard working teachers deserve better conditions in order to bring Calliaqua Anglican School back to its former glory.

There is little space between where the teacher stands while teaching and the front row of the classroom.

Why would more students be sent to a school that is already overcrowded is beyond me. My children go to this school and I am greatly disappointed that the ministry knows about the conditions at this school and have yet to come up with proper solutions but is placing more students there to worsen the situation.  It cannot be business as usual!

Clearly, the school is bursting at its seams. The town hall can be used to host the Grade 6 students who need close attention. They have missed out a lot because of COVID-19 and the Grade 6 teachers need the proper overall conditions to help these students. Use BRAGSA, shift partitions where necessary and find a way to build two more classrooms. It is not hard to do! We must be critical thinkers and solution seekers. Must our children suffer another year? And, is the St. Paul’s Anglican Church aware of what is happening right under its nose?

A chalkboard used as a partition between two classrooms.

Do we have to take action as parents and ask all parents to come into the school to look at the conditions? Must we write publicly to get problems solved when a school has a principal and a management team who should make recommendations and demand a better environment for students to perform?

This is absolutely ridiculous! I am asking for your swift attention to these matters at the school and that they be solved soonest. Our nation’s children all deserve smaller class populations with well-ventilated classrooms. When a class of small kids has only one door and one window at its disposal and students are asked to suffer needlessly and we do nothing, God will certainly judge us harshly for our wicked acts towards these innocent children!

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

7 replies on “What is happening at the Calliaqua Anglican School?”

  1. Who ever is responsible to ensure the safety of our kidds
    And willfully place them in harms way should be fired
    After an investigation .
    To make sure it never happens again….what civilized society does this?.
    Iit demonstrates negligence and incompetence.
    That is a sure way of turning a single case of covid 19 into hundreds in the community over night.
    Shut it down until it is resolved….

  2. Yes writer. If there are necessary steps to be taken for protecting your children wellbeing , fight for it. Our children are our future. With what is going on in this pandemic we all have to take all necessary steps to protect our children.

  3. After all these year’s calliaqua school remains the same and am almost 50 year’s old the school needed a big time upgrade from top to bottom

  4. I’m guessing that the ULP is going to say that the Concerned Parent is just trying to make the government look bad. They will refuse to see the state of the school.

  5. Percival Thomas says:

    This is the school I attended, many, many years ago.
    The main issue seems to be overcrowding. Many children and not enough room for them to produce their best. Perhaps, the teachers can’t teach effectively. And if Calliaqua school is overcrowded what about other schools in East St. George? And other schools in the whole country? Are they overcrowded? The Government had a long time to invest in schools to bring them to a high standard to benefit students and teachers and facilitate learning. Children only get one chance in school and they should be given the opportunity to make the most of their education.
    Parents have to fight for the education of their children by making representation to the education authorities. The Representative for East St. George. Parents may have some power. There is a general election coming up and Politicians need votes. Make them work for your votes.
    The writer of the article should be given some credit for highlighting what well be a national issue. Overcrowding in schools and children and teachers suffer.

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