Protest erupts over closure of Brickdam Secondary

…classes to recommence from today – CEO

By Ramona Luthi and Merissa Wilson

Enraged parents, teachers and students of the Brickdam Secondary School on Tuesday took to the street in front of the educational institution to express their frustration and disgust over the Education Ministry’s decision to permanently close the school instead of repairing the facility.

A parent holding a placard in front of Brickdam Secondary
A parent holding a placard in front of Brickdam Secondary
Chief Education Officer Olato Sam
Chief Education Officer Olato Sam

In the eyes of the infuriated persons, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Olato Sam was unreasonable. Teachers voiced that this and other protests were based on concerns for the safety of the students of the Secondary School, pointing out that even engineers from the Education Ministry had declared the school a danger zone and banned persons from the upper flat.
At the protest in front of the school, scores of parents, accompanied by their children clad in their school uniform, held up placards expressing their dissatisfaction and refusal to accept the closure of the Secondary School.
Parents said there was a need for a new building to house the students and teachers and if that request was met, they would be content, highlighting that they were adamant in their non-acceptance of the schools given as options for relocation.
“We need a building. They have a lot of buildings; they could give us a building. We can use other buildings in a shift system to house the children for the rest of the term. I don’t see a problem with it. But we are not sending our children to those … schools like Multi and Christ Church. No way!” an adamant parent noted.
The students of the school also vented their anger and feelings of being unfairly treated by the Ministry.
“Why is it we’re being placed in lower schools? Why? Don’t we have a voice? We want a new school, not to be placed elsewhere. In this situation they’re saying that it would be temporary, but we know that is not true. We wrote exams to come to this school and I don’t think our school should just become deceased, it needs repairs. That is all,” one visibly upset student said.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Ministry came to a compromise with the teachers and parents to recommence classes from today.
That decision was based on the grounds that students are in examinations period and a shift to another school could hinder their concentration and promotion for the next semester.
Noting these factors as well as the consistent pleas not to have the students and teachers separated due to “cultural diversity”, the Ministry had taken the step to have classes resumed. In a document, teachers had signed on to this indicating their endorsement.
As of today, the students will begin their exams at the building on a fixed schedule that has been formulated by the Ministry.
The Chief Education Officer, during a press conference, had stated that the Ministry was confident that the building would be sufficient to house the children for the next three weeks.
Given that there is now a smaller contingent of students as those from Form Five have finished their studies there, the Ministry believes that with adequate supervision there should be no unfortunate incidents in the shabby structure.
Engineers attached to the Ministry have commenced work to ensure that there are no immediate hazards. The faults that are being addressed were initially raised by the teachers and students during their first sit-in on Friday.
The Chief Education Officer assured that the Ministry was doing all in its power to create an environment which was safe for the teachers and students for the time being. It is currently mulling options for a permanent solution to the situation.