by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The second term of the 2022-2023 Academic Year is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 09, 2023, and the Minister of Education in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis – Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley has assured stakeholders that school maintenance projects will be undertaken over the coming months.
On day 3 of the Budget Address- December 16, 2022, Dr. Hanley informed that “the Ministry of Education is mandated in 2023 to effectively utilise EC $111.9 million in spending” to ensure that schools of the Federation are safe spaces for the children and teachers.
“We’re going to be vigorously moving towards renovation, maintenance and the general upkeep of schools. In 2023, our focus will be on outfitting all bathrooms in our schools to be hygienic and befitting of dignity, with which we should treat our students. Focus will also be made to overhaul the electrical infrastructure in our schools. The lights should be working, and electrical outlets should be adequate and in working order in all our schools. We have budgeted to seriously undertake this initiative in 2023.”
The Minister of Education said he visited all schools in the Federation- both in the public and private sectors since the opening of the Academic year. Dr. Hanley acknowledged that some of the schools are not in pleasant conditions. For years, students, teachers and parents have been complaining about the deplorable conditions of some of the schools in the country, including structural and electrical issues, as well as general furnishing of the schools.
In the Minister’s Message and Executive Summary in Volume 2 of the Budget Estimates found on https://www.mof.gov.kn/, Dr. Hanley said that in 2023 three schools will be prioritised for significant renovations; Basseterre High School, Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School and Irishtown Primary School.
The Irishtown Primary School has been forced to close classrooms on their three-story block due to structural integrity issues. Repairs to the classroom block are set to be completed in 2023, ready for the next academic year.
According to Volume 2 of the Budget Estimates, construction of the new Basseterre High School has an estimated cost of $35,000,000 to be funded through government revenue. Reconstruction of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School has an estimated cost of $8,000,000.
Other updates include a $1.6 million renovation of the Washington Archibald High School’s Bathroom, Roof and Window, a 4.6 million dollar Secondary School Electrical Upgrade in phase I, and the construction of an Education Building with an estimated cost of $24 million, among other projects.