Thursday 18 October, 2018

Barrackpore schools affected by quake expected to reopen soon

The Barrackpore East Secondary and Barrackpore West Secondary schools are expected to be reopened by Wednesday.

The schools were damaged by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake which occurred in August.

Responding to an urgent question in the House of Representatives on Monday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia explained that following last month’s earthquake, both secondary schools were identified as buildings suffering some structural damage to certain areas.

He said when teachers returned to the schools after the July/August vacation period, they felt that their safety was being compromised and refused to work under such conditions.

Garcia said OSH officials along with the Ministry of Works visited the schools last week, during which the unsafe areas of the schools were identified and cordoned off.

The Education Minister added that the Barrackpore East and West Secondary schools are expected to be reopened on Wednesday, pending an official report by OSH.

“The Ministry of Education sought the assistance of OSH and OSH last Wednesday together with the Ministry of Works did a walk-through of the compound. Certain areas were identified as safe for the occupation of the students and other areas that were not so safe, it was cordoned off.

We are now awaiting the official report from both OSH and the Ministry of Works and it is our view that these schools can be back on stream by Wednesday 19.”

He was further questioned as to whether the schools will be repaired in time for Wednesday's expected opening.

However, the Education Minister explained that while the unsafe areas were cordoned off, there are other safe areas that the teachers and students could occupy.

“I never said the school will be repaired by Wednesday, what I said was that certain areas were identified that could have been occupied by both students and teachers and that there are certain areas that we had some problems with and those areas will be cordoned off.

We are awaiting the official response from OSH. But judging from what we were told by OSH and the Ministry of Works, school should be in a position to resume by Wednesday.


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