Please Strengthen Our Schools
The Ministry of Education appears sufficiently concerned about the environmental health of our students, to close and clean schools. Solutions Barbados is requesting the Ministry to be at least as concerned about our students’ physical safety, to strengthen unstable schools.
Due to an updated building standard, most of our primary and secondary school buildings built before 2012, are vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. Solutions Barbados has urged both the previous and current administrations to make the safety of our students a priority. Unfortunately, both administrations have displayed the same low level of concern.
After the reported 300,000 deaths from the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which damaged or destroyed 4,000 schools, we should not be so careless about our students’ safety. Unlike hurricanes, earthquakes strike with very little warning.
The Ministry is strongly urged to assess the structural stability of all schools, and identify economical but effective strengthening methods to prevent their collapse. Once the list of what needs to be done has been provided to each school, the affordable strengthening can commence. The PTAs can be encouraged to contribute, since it is the safety of their students and teachers that are currently at risk.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com