EDITORIAL: School plants need maintenance
There are many school plants on this island that could truly do with an upgrade, since it is well known that having a beautiful environment in which to operate, truly does lend to an enhanced teaching and learning process.
Many of the island’s schools have been around for decades and it is understood they often require high levels of maintenance. The Ministry of Education has a responsibility of course to maintain local school plants. This fact cannot be denied. However, the reality is that the Education Ministry can only do so much. Each year, the Ministry announces plans to upgrade existing structures at a number of schools and this usually comes ahead of the start of the September school term. It is a well-known fact that some school plants have been around for ages and may need to be rebuilt altogether, but those that can receive some attention in the interest of the pupils and teachers who have to exist there, should be given due consideration.
Given limited finances, and the fact that the Ministry seemingly is only able to touch some schools and not all under its portfolio all at once, it must be noted that alumni associations and parent-teacher associations (PTAs) can do more to enhance the island’s educational institutions. Barbadians should not have to wait on the Government of Barbados to make a decision as to when or if it will step in and have some work done on a school, if work can be done at the school by those who are willing. Many of the school principals can take the bull by the horns and initiate some kind of fund-raising drive to assist their schools as well and bring some much-needed lustre to some of these dull and dreary looking school plants.
This is where the private sector can come in as well, by adopting a school or two and pledging greater support in assisting in upgrades. A splash of paint here and a few changes to broken doors and windows, can go a long way in making the infrastructure at some schools more appealing to the eye and it can certainly help in enhancing the teaching and learning environment, by making the school a more conducive place in which to do business.
There are many persons and groups in Barbados that also utilise school facilities for various events, for town hall meetings, branch meetings, dinners and social events, etc. Some of these individuals and groups can also get together and encourage others to give back and ensure that the schools, which aid in serving them, benefit financially as well. Volunteers can also work to upgrade the school, once the nod is given by principals and Ministry officials. Indeed, parents involved in a trade – carpentry, masonry, tiling, etc. – can also lend a hand in sprucing up school plants.
It seems that at the nursery level, all is done to ensure that the classrooms are beautiful to look at and the children are visually stimulated. After that, it seems the concept of visual appeal goes through the windows. This should not be the case. Let us do what we can to ensure that our students can benefit in the long run from a beautiful, pleasant, clean and hazard-free environment.