Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, centre, speaks with students in one of the classrooms of the newly built Fanny Village Government Primary School after its commissioning on Monday as staff members and ministry officials look on. – Marvin Hamilton
STUDENTS of Fanny Village Government Primary School celebrated the goodness of God adapted as a spoken word narrative, as their $37 million new school was finally commissioned on Monday.
For over a decade, the Fanny Village students were displaced after their old dilapidated building was destroyed by fire and classes moved to the community centre for over seven years.
Although he could not be at the opening as he was flying back from New York, CAL pilot and Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards Jr told the Newsday by telephone that the school had been plagued by many problems in the past.
He said he was pleased to see the National Maintenance Training and Security Company Ltd (MTS) step in and deliver the building within two years, during the covid19 pandemic.
“This is exceptional. The contractor is from Point Fortin and we were able to employ a lot of local labour,” Richards said.
Like Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly who officially commissioned the building, Richards said the real value of the school was not just the building, but the opportunity to harness the skills of the young people who would benefit from what their teachers had to offer.
Gadsby-Dolly said educational continuity was critical and educational infrastructure was an important part of that vision.
“It is a great pleasure to formally commission this school in difficult times, because we want our children to have the best standard of education and we want our output to be the best.”
She told staff and students that a considerable investment was being made in education, and a great part of that investment was made in ensuring the buildings were up to mark.
She said the ministry was challenged by the ageing infrastructure of the 800 public institutions under its care, as most were between 40 to 60 years old and some 100 years and older.
She said the investment to build and repair to provide the right atmosphere for education would mean nothing, unless the teaching and quality of learning were on par with the aesthetics.
“The important thing is not the building, that is important too, but the critical thing is the learning that takes place.”
She said the purpose of education was to develop citizens to drive the future, “when all of us are over the hill or more over the hill.”
School supervisor two Anthony Ramjit said he shared the dream with principal Cheryl Richardson-Rojas, staff, students and parents that, one day, they would have a state-of-the-art facility to ensure all students would be given the best opportunity for holistic development.
He said the journey was long but pledged the school would continue to provide outstanding citizens like the International Criminal Court Justice Althea Alexis-Winsdor and keep the building in a pristine condition.
Ramjit said the original school, built in 1969, catered for 175 students. He said in 2010 when construction started, the population was 300.
Richards said the new building can accommodate 420 students.
Ramjit said the additional space would effectively provide more spaces for the intake of first-year students, as approximately 60 or more were left out annually.