The Education Ministry on Tuesday commissioned a brand-new wing at Queen’s College, Camp Street, Georgetown, to the tune of $103.5 million.
The new block was named after the institution’s 11th principal, Doodnauth Hetram who served the institution for 19 years, and will be occupied by sixth-form students but more importantly, it addresses the space constraints previously experienced by the school.
Back in 2016, the population of Queen’s College was just over 600 but this grew to in excess of 900 this year – forcing the teaching faculty to facilitate students in the library and other areas. This, according to its principal Rajkumarie Lall, was not conducive to learning.
As such, assistance was sought from the Education Ministry for additional accommodation, which resulted in a contract being inked in 2022 for the construction of an additional building.
The building was completed in June of this year and has the capacity for eight large classrooms and laboratories.
“With the growing population, classes were forced to be held under the tent, the library and most times, this was not conducive for learning, both teachers and students…A project of this nature has tremendous benefits. At the moment, we have over 200 CAPE students that are housed in the building,” the principal outlined.
However, Education Minister Priya Manickchand recalled that during an inspection of the school in 2020 after the PPP/C took office, it was found that Queen’s College was not fit for its purpose.
She stated that she was worried about the condition of the school, including the furniture and space constraints. This was the case for many schools across the country.
“The condition of the school was not fit for purpose. I was worried that any child who got scratched from the furniture could get tetanus. I was worried about the condition of the walls and bathrooms. And I was worried about space.”
Block by block, the walls were repainted and furniture was replaced or refurbished. After an additional classroom was created at each level, it created a constraint with space for sixth-form students.
“What was an old dilapidated Head Master’s house across the front of the yard, we turned that into what we’re commissioning, a brand new sixth form block with classrooms, labs, and common spaces. That will stand there forevermore,” the Minister highlighted.
Like every other child across the country, Queen’s College students are receiving every textbook they need among other resources that were introduced by the Ministry to enhance education quality. After leaving the institution, students were charged to ensure that they add value to their communities. Teachers were also encouraged to give students more direction and mould them to leave the school system as better individuals.
The teachers were told, “You have special children before you and it is your duty to make them more whole than you found them, more wholesome than you found them, and more direction than they came in with.”
Queen’s College and other national schools have been expanded to accommodate a larger batch of students when the NGSA entrance examination is written. Additional trainee teachers will soon be introduced for greater supervision. (G-12)