Displaced Christ Church Secondary students to be accommodated at CPCE
– decision taken after meeting between parents and Ministry officials
Following the devastating fire at the Christ Church Secondary School in Georgetown last week, a plan has been set in motion to have students accommodated at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) in the interim.
Announcing this move was Education Minister Priya Manickchand via social media on Tuesday, where she explained that parents unanimously decided on this location after they were invited to discuss the way forward.
“This morning (Tuesday) more than 450 parents attended a meeting at my invitation to determine the best location for their children. They unanimously chose space at CPCE to accommodate the education of their children. I repeat: each person who destroys a school and/or any author of said destruction once found guilty ought to be given life imprisonment. We need to legislate accordingly,” Manickchand penned.
The fire has left over 500 children displaced along with scores of teachers and auxiliary staff. Presently, the teachers are engaging the affected children online.
On Thursday last, the Guyana Fire Service received the report of a fire at the school at about 17:22h. As such, water tenders from the Central, Alberttown, West Ruimveldt, and Campbellville Fire Stations were immediately dispatched to the location.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed smoke emanating from the two-storey wooden and concrete structure, and while getting into action, the building quickly became engulfed in flames.
Despite firefighting efforts, more than 80 per cent of the building and its contents were destroyed, with the remainder suffering severe damage.
Additionally, the Fire Service added that three buildings in close proximity to the school were affected by the inferno and suffered damage to several AC units, PVC guttering, ceilings, windows, and curtains.
On Monday, the Fire Service concluded in its investigation that the fire that devastated the Christ Church Secondary School was maliciously set.
In addition, it stated that a previous fire that was successfully put out one week prior to the full destruction was also purposely set. Over the past years, at least three other schools were destroyed by fire. In June 2021, the teaching block, which housed all the classrooms at the North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary School, located on Mandela Avenue, Georgetown, was completely destroyed by a massive fire.
Smoke was seen emanating from the upper flat of the two-storey building and within minutes, the entire block was engulfed, leaving hundreds of children displaced.
Then in September of the same year, The North West Secondary School at Mabaruma was destroyed by fire. In that case, a security guard stated that he was on his cellular phone when he heard three loud explosions emanating from a room on the second floor of the eastern side of the building.
As he checked, he observed the room engulfed in flames. Again, hundreds of children and teachers were displaced. Only last week, a contract was inked for the reconstruction of the school.
In July 2022, the St George’s High School on North Road, Georgetown, was reduced to ashes following an electrical fire. As a result of the blaze, 421 students and their teachers were affected. They are presently being accommodated at other facilities.