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Back to the tents

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, January 15, 2018

MORE than 130 students in Koronubu, Ba, will start the 2018 school year in tents.

Last year, the school also began the school year with two tents for Year 5 and Year 7 students. The school was severely damaged in 2016 during Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and subsequently added on to Government's Adopt a School program.

Yesterday, a team from this newspaper witnessed staff members and management of Koronubu Sanatan Primary School setting up tents to accommodate students from Year 1 to Year 8.

They braved the unrelenting heavy downpour to mount two large tents on the school ground.

The school was forced to erect five tents over the weekend because construction work on a new 10-classroom school block has not been completed.

School manager Ashok Kumar Maharaj said the new school block was supposed to be completed last year.

"We had a deadline of December 20, but until now the building is still not complete," he said.

"There is electrical works yet to be done, the windows are not installed and some of the classrooms have no doors."

He claimed the building contractor did not have enough manpower to complete the job. He said teachers and management staff members had spent the weekend building tents to accommodate the students.

"We have three tents up already. We have two big ones which will have two classes in them, and a smaller one with only one class.

"We are putting up two more tents. We want to put two classes in each tent."

Yesterday, the heavy rain caused a pitched tent to collapse to the ground.

Mr Kumar said the delay in construction work also affected the completion of a teacher's residence.

"I had to tell the builders to stop work on the teacher's quarters and concentrate on completing the school block. We just want this to be done quickly. We want our children in their new classrooms as soon as possible.

"We are appealing to the Minister for Economy and Education (Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum) to help us with this problem.

"Our students will be in tents this week and we can't hold off classes because school has to start. The heavy rain is going to be a problem for us and it can leak into the tents if it continues."

Questions on the situation at Koronubu Sanatan Primary School sent to Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday remained unanswered.

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