Hindu leader remembered as Arima school opens

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, centre, greets general secretary of Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba of TT Vijay Maharaj, as Arima Mayor Cagney Casimire, Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian , Arima Hindu School principal Sohan Seetahal and MTS CEO Lennox Rattansingh look on at the opening of the school on Tumpuna Road, Arima, on Wednesday. – Photo by Roger Jacob

The commissioning of the Arima Hindu Primary School on the third anniversary of the death of Satnarayan Maharaj is not a coincidence but the hand of the Almighty, his son Vijay Maharaj said on Wednesday.

The primary school, which fled from its home at Temple Street in Arima in 2019 amidst increased gun violence, was commissioned on Wednesday at Tumpuna Road, Arima.

The new school currently holds 200 students and was built to house 250.

The school was built so that it could be extended to house an additional 150.

After moving from Temple Street, in 2019, the school was housed at Jadoo’s Plaza until 2021. Then it went to Phase One Malabar to where the Malabar Primary School was once housed.

Maharaj called on parents to “step up” saying children are empty sponges who come to school learning from their home environment.

After telling those gathered that the opening of the school on the third anniversary of his father’s death was a sign from the heavens, Maharaj said the hand of God must guide the teachers and students in what they do.

He thanked the Ministry of Education for its role in building the school, which cost approximately $8.5 million. The acre of land that the school was built on was purchased by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly during her feature address praised the principal of the school Sohan Seetahal who, she said, was patient as the school was being built and housed at two separate locations since 2019.

She said she was grateful to the various school boards for meeting the ministry “sometimes more than halfway” in the drive to educate the country’s children as it ensures education continuity for them.

Education continuity, she said, is a serious matter and what covid19 did was allow children to become accustomed to a lifestyle that is not sustainable for their development and to the parents who have to return to work.

“We have a right mix of the online and the physical. The physical structures are indeed extremely important to maintain. It is not an easy exercise. Every single day there is a school on the threat of closing for one reason or another” she said as she encouraged officials to care for the school.

D’Abadie/O’Meara MP and former teacher Lisa Morris-Julian said partnership between the board and the ministry was a successful one. She said the construction of the school was a testimony of love since the school has been a solid foundation to the borough. She too asked that the new building be treated well so it will last the borough for years to come.