BSTU concerned about displaced Combermere students

President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is expressing concern over the length of time that the Ministry of Education is taking to find alternatives accommodation for the displaced students and teachers of Combermere School.

It has been a week since the Waterford learning institution was closed due to environmental concerns, and the ministry has promised to update parents and guardians on work being conducted to correct the issues plaguing the school.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Redman said even though her members remained in the dark, they were still attempting to cater to the educational welfare of their charges through the use technology.

“I really don’t know. I know that some teachers are keeping in contact with their students through email and that type of thing. I know that because they normally do that during the term as well – they send notes and such stuff and I know that students remain in contact with their teachers, especially the exam students but other than that I can’t tell you what arrangements have been put in place. I suppose people are now seeing the problems we face with the ministry,” Redman said.

The union leader also told Barbados TODAY she was unaware of any findings by the ministry or the school principal Vere Parris on the cause of the environmental issues facing the school.

Parris is reported to have said at a staff meeting Monday that the foul odour was the result of someone tampering with effluent pipes resulting in the release of septic gases.

Redman said she had received reports from members who attended Monday’s meeting at Erdiston College, but had heard nothing from either the ministry or Parris.

“I have not had any report from either the principal or the ministry thus far, so we are still awaiting word on exactly what the problem is. We know there is a problem, the ministry said there is a problem and it is on that basis that we closed the school. They said they would do an extensive investigation and attempt to treat to the problems, but I have not heard anything from them since Tuesday last week.”

The authorities shut down the school last Tuesday at the height of complaints of a foul odour, which caused teachers and students to experience headaches, rashes and hoarseness.

In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said it had identified a special taskforce “to monitor and oversee the work over the next week” and would continue to monitor the environment at the school.

It added that the school would remain closed until it was “satisfied that the investigative and remedial work” had been completed.

In the meantime the ministry has advised parents and guardians of students writing CXC, CSEC, and CAPE examinations in May/June to pay their examination fees at the finance section of the ministry’s Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St Michael.

Barbados TODAY has also learnt that parents and guardians have been summoned by the principal to a meeting on Thursday at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.

3 Responses to BSTU concerned about displaced Combermere students

  1. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar November 23, 2016 at 1:23 am

    For the sake of our children and their education, there is need for expeditious resolution to this matter. The education of our children is serious business and should not be taken lightly . This is the future you are tampering with. I am sure that suitable accommodation could be located if there are level heads and not confrontation. For example , why not use the Labour College. The Union got to stop turning this matter into a political football, and government is obligated to ensure there is no time wasting.

  2. Carson C Cadogan November 23, 2016 at 1:40 am

    CLOSE COMBERMERE SCHOOL DOWN FOR GOOD. As was done with Louis Lynch school. Transfer all students to other school as was done with Louis Lynch school students. Transfer the staff to other schools as well as was done with Louis Lynch school staff.

    But better still lay off most of the teaching staff.

    When this woman was calling off staff to attend “Union meetings” during school time she didnt give a damn about students. Now she is pretending to care about students welfare.

    She is a real hypocrite.

  3. Hal Austin November 23, 2016 at 3:33 am

    I cannot believe that warrior Redman is concerned about the future of students. She must have been misunderstood.
    This woman is a pariah and the sooner members of the union get rid of her the better. Disruptive trade unionism gives meaning to her life. Why don’t the media do a profile of her?
    About paying for exams, would it not be more competent if the schools collected the fees then pay in bulk to the ministry?


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