The Minister of Education has addressed criticisms of the government rushing to complete the New Secondary School in Tomlinson’s for the new school year, instead of using the Five Island Facility as the new complex.
Critics have been questioning the motive behind the government’s decision to speedily build a new secondary facility to address the overcrowding issue in some of the nation’s schools, without consideration of utilizing the already constructed Five Island campus.
Education Minister Michael Browne addressed the concern during the government’s post-cabinet briefing this morning.
“We are creating a secondary school that aptly fits based on the research and expanding population in that area and simultaneously, the government is driving what I would call the most energized economic activity area in terms of generating and creating employment throughout the country.
That certainly can’t be a bad thing and anybody who would criticize I would ask them to turn to any one of the construction workers who would have been collecting a good pay or to the many parents who have already visited the site and are excited just looking at the plans about the prospects of their child going to a new secondary school,” he said.
Minister Browne said persons should not underestimate the capabilities of Antiguan contractors and their ability to construct a major project in a very limited time-frame.
The minister would have also used the opportunity to give some much needed details on the new secondary school earmarked to be completed by mid-august.
“The capacity of the school when all the phases would have been completed, is expected to be between 700-800 students all together for the final capacity. We’re engaged in the first phase for the construction of the school, overall the initial announcement would be that the overall cost for the full secondary school would have been about $45 million.
We have actually started the first phase to accommodate first form students only, so in the first year you would have roughly about 150 students in small class sizes and overall every year the school will grow,” he added.
Parents of the students who will be attending the New Secondary School come September will have an opportunity to have their concerns and questions addressed during a meeting with Ministry of Education officials later today. The meeting is at 5 pm at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre.
Education Officials says details about uniform; curriculum and other information will be shared this evening. One hundred and fifty-one students have been assigned to the school.
Minister Browne also noted that the uniforms for the new school will be on display during the meeting.