Despite the fire that destroyed the teaching block of the North Ruimveldt Secondary School on Saturday, the students who are scheduled to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination will be able to write their examinations in the school’s auditorium as they requested.

The Honourable Minister of Education Priya Manickchand met with the students and teachers today in the auditorium where the students will for the next few weeks write their CSEC 20210628 1

The Education Minister said that the Ministry did all that it could have done to put the school in a state of readiness to accommodate the students. She said that the work that was done by everyone to get the school ready shows how much can be done when people work together.

She told the students that they have a solid foundation by attending an A-List school and that they can do as well as any other child in their examinations. “So the ball is now in your court. Today we hand the baton to you to take it from here. We’ve done everything we could possibly do to keep you in a frame of mind that will allow you to just soar. So go ahead and soar,” Minister Manickchand said while encouraging the 65 students to do their best in their examinations.

She told the gathering that granting the request of the students to sit their examinations had to be done with careful consideration to ensure the environment was safe and would allow the examinations to occur without 20210628 3

Using this incident for context, the Education Minister told the students that whenever they are faced with a decision to make, ensure that they are doing what is right even if it will be an unpopular decision.

She told them that whatever position they take up in life, they must never forget to listen to the people they are supposed to serve. “Before you come to a decision, listen to the people who will be affected by your decision. Consult with them. Hear them. Listen to them. That is what we did here,” Minister Manickchand advised.

Minister Manickchand added that while the majority of subjects will be written at the school, the students writing Electronic Document Processing and Management (EDPM) will do so at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and that transportation will be provided for those students. She also said that lunch will be prepared each day there is an examination to ensure the students are properly catered for.

Minister Manickchand expressed special thanks to Principal Education Officer, Mr. Immanuel Bridgewater, Education Officers, Ms. Stembiso Grant, Mr. Sherwyn Blackman and Ms. Dawn McCammon – Barker for all the hard work and exceptional service delivered to get the school up and ready.

On Monday, two days following the incident, Minister Manickchand along with Senior Officers of the Ministry of Education met with students of the school and their parents to hear their views on the matter and to decide on the way forward. Four positions were arrived at with one being that the students prefer to write their examination in the 20210628 10

Headteacher, Ms. Allison Cosbert told her students today that they will do more than just pass their examinations but do better than their predecessors because the Ministry of Education, teachers, parents and the community at large are supporting them.

She thanked the Minister of Education and the Officers of the Department of Education – Georgetown for all the support and work done to ensure the school is in the state that it is today despite the recent tragedy.

Senior Welfare Officer, Mr. Vickram Mohabir also thanked Minister Manickchand for her leadership during this difficult time for the 20210628 9

He told the students today that being resilient and learning to ride over hurdles are important in achieving their goals. He said that now they need to shut out all external noise and focus on their examinations which are important to their destiny ahead, important to their parents, their teachers, the Ministry and the Minister of Education.

“My motivation to you is to complete that task. For it is only the people who cross that line are the people who will get the prize,” Mr. Mohabir said in closing.

Reverend Simon Harris told the students that they have become part and parcel of a tragedy and a triumph. On behalf of the Old Students Association, he thanked the Minister of Education and her team for ‘coming out of the blocks’ with speed and agility with this matter to start the restoration process out of this 20210628 11

“Thank you for pushing and setting everything in place for us to remain right here,” He added. Following the meeting, each student was given a care package containing face masks, a spray bottle, environ sanitizer, vitamin support, geometry set, ruler, pencils, pens, erasers and sharpeners to assist them in writing their examinations which begin on Monday. Calculators were also donated to the Mathematics department as a replacement for those that were destroyed by the fire.