Struggling to survive

Senator Harry Husbands in discussion with one of the Unique High School teachers.
Senator Harry Husbands in discussion with one of the Unique High School teachers.

One of this country’s oldest private schools is struggling to survive.

The 64-year-old Unique High School on Dayrells Road, Christ Church, said its Principal Monica Crawford this afternoon, has been experiencing a declining student roll in recent years, essentially due to the inability of parents to continue paying the $125 per term fees.

Crawford, a former student and senior teacher of the school, disclosed that the financial situation had reached such a lamentable level, that sometimes she has even had to supplement the salaries of her 10 teachers.

She also revealed that parents now owed her thousands of dollars in school fees that had accumulated over time.

“Some parents are unable to pay the school fees; and even when a child gets a bursary, it is only $125 for a term. I have to supplement teachers’ salaries sometimes from any monies that I have,” declared the educator who have been teaching for the past 54 years.

“If I carry the school fees too high those people who are not that high … in terms of their jobs, then they wouldn’t be able to pay for the children,” Crawford argued.

“Right now there are students who owe me money and they can’t pay; but I don’t want to let them stay home, so they are still at school. I mean owing $8,000 and so over a period of time, but to say stay home, that could mean they could get into any mischief,” announced the school principal, who taught her sister and a brother at Unique High.

Crawford, whose school offers the traditional academic subjects along with music theory and craft, told Barbados TODAY following an official tour of the institute by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harry Husbands, that she was also struggling to establish a computer centre.

However, she stated that while the school had the computers, the finance was hard to come by to construct the centre. The veteran educator said too that the school needed renovating and rent had to be paid for the land, but again, money was a problem.

However, Crawford said she remained committed to the fight, being motivated by a strong passion to help young people and their success in graduating a number of students who are no senior public officers, priests, doctors, nurses and more. Veteran Barbados TODAY journalist Emmanuel Joseph also attended Unique High School. (EJ)

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