Hard lesson

Learning Centre on the brink of closure

The Learning Centre, a private school catering to the needs of children with disabilities, is facing the possibility of closure because critical Government financial support is not coming in as before.

Dawn Rudder, principal of the Orange Hill, St James based institution, told Barbados TODAY this morning that the school was struggling to pay salaries and bills because of Government’s failure to pay outstanding bursaries for about 90 percent of the student roll.

Yesterday, as he contributed to debate in the House of Assembly on the Education (Amendment) Bill 2015, Opposition Shadow Minister of Education, Edmund Hinkson, called on the Freundel Stuart administration to fix the problem which he described as “dire.”

He charged that the school had not received any payments for bursaries for this academic year.

Prinicpal Dawne Ridder.
Prinicpal Dawne Ridder.

Rudder said Hinkson’s report was accurate. She said the last time the school received payment for bursaries was on February 23, and this was for the third term of the 2013-2014 school year.

It takes a maximum of $50 000 a month to cover the school’s expenses.

“Mr. Hinkson was perfectly correct yesterday in Parliament and anybody who says different, I would have to wonder why,” the principal said.

Meanwhile, the school’s secretary treasurer, Desrine Forde, said the centre was currently depending on limited savings to keep its head above water.

“We have used up our savings, so we are now in dire straits. We don’t have savings that are going to last a year. So within the next few months we need the funds coming in.”

“The difference between our income and our expenditure is almost nil at this point and that’s from figures and facts. And our teachers deserve to be paid because they don’t get a lot, but they are dedicated,” Forde said.

Rudder confirmed that at a Parent Teachers Association meeting held two weeks ago, parents were informed that the Learning Centre faced the possibility of closure due to its financial situation.

Forde said the news was not taken well by the parents of the 75 students who rely heavily on the service of the 38-year-old institution.

“They need the place for their children to come to school. More than 90 per cent of our children are coming from Government centres because they cut off at 13-years-old.  There is not anywhere else for these children to go,” the secretary treasurer said.

The principal said buying just a ream of paper was currently a difficult proposition due to lack of funds.

“We don’t have basic things to keep functioning and we do use paper a lot because our children are functioning at levels below the average. We make up a lot of our lessons and we have to photocopy them, so we need paper,” Rudder said.

In a self-help initiative to raise funds, the Centre is holding an evening cruise scheduled for March 28 on the M.C. Buccaneer. The institution can be contacted for more information.

Students busy making ironing boards at the Learning Centre.
Students busy making ironing boards at the Learning Centre.

anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

21 Responses to Hard lesson

  1. Beverley Headley
    Beverley Headley March 12, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Dear God-Please show us your mercies and bring us deliverance in Jesus name I pray.

    Reply
    • Justin Moore
      Justin Moore March 12, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Yeah, I don’t think God is gonna be paying the outstanding bursaries anytime soon.

      Reply
  2. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne March 12, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Dear God pleasr help these Children with their needs.Amen <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  3. Nicole Jordan
    Nicole Jordan March 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I am disappointed with the government, I hope they help before it is too late

    Reply
  4. TamStar Watson
    TamStar Watson March 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Wow this is so sad!

    Reply
  5. TamStar Watson
    TamStar Watson March 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Wow this is so sad!

    Reply
  6. Carol Grant Cumberbatch
    Carol Grant Cumberbatch March 12, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Father Lord…please help us….

    Reply
  7. seagul March 12, 2015 at 10:58 am

    With ever more millionaires in Barbados and this support can’t be found? This is shameful and ungodly. The corporations have successfully bribed many charismatic personalities and figures with money and flattery and social assets…etc……Emancipate yourself, a sense of dignity is crucial to soul.

    Reply
  8. Jason Belle
    Jason Belle March 12, 2015 at 11:08 am

    We can pray and we can give. Let’s do this Barbados. Show those turkeys in Government how it’s done.

    Reply
  9. kathy-Ann Clarke March 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    We cannot afford to let this die, Government must come forward and give aid to them, it’s about education for these students, it’s not about travelling, and big vehicles. This is very important. Then need the help and today is the day for it.

    Reply
  10. K Tremaine Gilkes
    K Tremaine Gilkes March 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Will this be the staw that breaks the camel’s back? Will this be the event that makes Bajans stand and let this government know that they’ve had enough and they have to go??

    Reply
    • K Tremaine Gilkes
      K Tremaine Gilkes March 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      I’m actually afraid to ask that. Its like they’ll actually take it as a challenge.

      Reply
  11. K Tremaine Gilkes
    K Tremaine Gilkes March 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Will this be the staw that breaks the camel’s back? Will this be the event that makes Bajans stand and let this government know that they’ve had enough and they have to go??

    Reply
  12. Ronald R Thompson
    Ronald R Thompson March 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Shame on the government if them let this school close

    Reply
  13. Michael Ess
    Michael Ess March 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    You are all blind.
    Barbados will never change.
    The majority of it’s populace is sea of mind numbingly stupid people concerned with “living them life and enjoying themselves”.
    As long as they have priorities as banal as new shoes, fetes and entertainers, and brain deadening TV, they’re happily complacent. The smart need to leave.
    R.I.P. to this nation of jackasses.

    Reply
  14. Michael Ess
    Michael Ess March 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    You are all blind.
    Barbados will never change.
    The majority of it’s populace is sea of mind numbingly stupid people concerned with “living them life and enjoying themselves”.
    As long as they have priorities as banal as new shoes, fetes and entertainers, and brain deadening TV, they’re happily complacent. The smart need to leave.
    R.I.P. to this nation of jackasses.

    Reply
  15. Gregg Moseley Clarke
    Gregg Moseley Clarke March 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    how many private schools get government assistance?

    Reply
  16. Gregg Moseley Clarke
    Gregg Moseley Clarke March 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    how many private schools get government assistance?

    Reply
  17. Jean March 12, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    This Government has deprived us all now. Those challenged kids who cannot make it without the Learning Centre, the disabled with payments from NIS, the elderly with their delayed pension, the maternity and sickness benefit delayed payments, the sick using the QEH and polyclinics, the centenarians who some feel are living too long and draining the system, the ones who are striving for higher education through scholarships and bursaries.

    Added to this is the recently unemployed who cannot get their benefits and severance, and those who lost their jobs through cutbacks.

    Oh, I forgot about us who are employed and cannot get our income tax refunds and the business who cannot get VAT refunds.

    Hope that I did not leave anyone out, but that would have to be someone other than politicians who would have to be independently wealthy.

    Barbados is in a sorry state!!!

    Reply
  18. Elke Hassell
    Elke Hassell March 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    How much money you think the Government has in Barbados? Especially when Barbados has NO significant riches and has to only rely on Sugar Cane Money and Tourists! What should happen is that some of those 1 percenters in this Island should contribute to some of the needed things over here, like this one here. Afterall they can deduct it from their Taxes and save themselves some heavy bills. But alas we all think the Government over here has money galore. It hasn’t

    Reply
  19. Donnah Russell March 13, 2015 at 10:12 am

    It is a reality that the majority of parents of children with challenges cannot afford the special needs education (and tools) they need to outfit them with the basics and the life skill lessons to be able to become independent and make a contribution to society. Bursaries are necessary but the school itself also needs more help. We all need to come together to help these kids!

    Reply

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