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MP knocks decision to shut down school

Trinidad Express / MEMBER of Parliament for Naparima Rodney Charles has condemned the decision by the Ministry of Education to shut down Cowen Hamilton Secondary School because of health and respiratory issues due to poor air quality. Charles said classes had been stopped more than a month ago, and parents of the pupils have complained the lack of classes may affect their children’s ­education. “Since September students and teachers of this prestige school have complained about respiratory discomfort, skin itches, rashes and redness and itching of the eye, and students have not returned to classes. ‘Excellent results, worst accommodation’ “It is understood that tests are being conducted by Cariri (Caribbean Industrial Research Institute). Many Cowen students live in nearby Naparima constituency and parents of students attending the school have complained about the implications of these and other developments for the education of their children,” said Charles. The MP said Cowen Hamilton Secondary was “a prestige Baptist school with excellent academic results, has the worst physical accommodation among secondary schools in the country, yet in this year’s budget not a single cent was allocated for the school’s upgrade”. He said two weeks ago Minister in the Ministry of Education Lovell Francis, who is the MP for the constituency in which the school is located, Moruga/Tableland, said the ministry was looking into the dilapidated conditions in which Cowen students are housed. “While they are merely looking at Cowen’s situation, millions have already been allocated in fiscal year 2017 to many secondary schools in less need,” said Charles. “It is time for this PNM (People’s National Movement) administration to step up to the plate and rebuild Cowen Hamilton, the worst secondary school in the country in terms of physical accommodation, and also the Marac Baptist, the worst primary school in the country in terms of physical infrastructure,” the MP added.

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