No national plan in place to manage school maintenance
Education Minister Sharie de Castro has revealed that the BVI does not currently have a national maintenance plan in place for schools in the territory.
The issue of the maintenance of schools has been brought to the forefront recently after the minister announced at the end of the last school term that students could no longer use the Althea Scatliffe Primary School (ASPS) building in its current state.
A structural analysis of the school conducted in June of this year found that the building was unsafe for occupancy due to issues of structural integrity and it was recommended that the use of the building be suspended immediately.
However, de Castro said a position was recently filled for a maintenance manager within the Education Ministry which should help address the situation. “When he came on board, he began to strategise with his team, and actually come up with a strategy for the schools, so the ministry properly deals with maintenance of schools,” de Castro said.
She explained that while the ministry currently has funding allocated for maintenance, it will need to seek additional funding to execute its long-term programme for maintenance to ensure every school gets proper attention in future.
She further explained that although the Education Ministry’s approach has been largely responsive in the past, it has now created a plan to allow it to be more proactive in addressing any needs that arise.
The ministry, de Castro further explained, also needs to devise a plan that involves engaging the private sector as a stakeholder to develop a workable approach.
“When we understand what education does for our community, I believe it’s an opportunity for us to have partnership, and I’m grateful for those partners who have stepped up, and I believe there’s opportunity for more,“ the minister stated.