WHILE some teachers of the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School feel that calling this week’s happenings a “walk out” was something of an exaggeration as it implied that students had been left abandoned at the school, many people are questioning whether or not their actions were justified.
Teachers called in sick on the morning of October 15th after voicing their complaints about the growth of mould at the school. It was understood that reasons for the complaints had been assessed but no indication of the results of that assessment were given. However, teachers called in sick, asked parents to pick up their children and shortly after, the school was empty.
Workmen showed up at the school the following day, prompted it would seem, by a decision relating to the actions of teachers the day before. As a result of this little chain of events, there was no school for the rest of the week at the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School. It is not known how long ago the mould was first recognised at the school or when the first official complaint regarding mould was launched. A couple of points need to be recognized in this scenario. For one thing, it is unfair to the children of any school to be deprived of valuable school time during the active school term. It is also unfair to students, school teaching staff and faculty to be expected to teach or be present in unsuitable or potentially unhealthy conditions.
It was little over a month ago that the school year began after a two-month summer break. The reality of this situation is that whatever work needed to be done for the eradication of mould or any other problem, should have been done during that two-month period. Furthermore, it is a good time for Ministry Officials to conduct annual assessments at the island’s schools to identify potential problems before they result in a disruption of school. If that is already being done, then the situation at the Methodist School means that it is ineffective; at least where the Methodist School is concerned. Moreover, the work which commenced at the school this week could have been done the weekend before, so as not to interrupt classes at the school.
It was only months ago that the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) made a presentation on ‘procrastination and productivity’ to students of the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School. The topic of the presentation was, “Procrastination Kills Productivity.” Let this also apply to the persons in charge of ensuring that circumstances do not get out of hand in ways that affect the children’s education. Let it apply to them so that they too can set an example for the youth where productivity is concerned. The Ministry of Education has announced that classes at the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School will resume on Monday October 21st. Let us hope that all will be well by then.