Arrival of a barge in Port George Town at the end of December would mean that all children will be in classrooms when school begins 5 January.
That vessel is on the high seas now travelling from Jacksonville and bearing 16 temporary classrooms, which will complement 13 already on Grand Cayman, making it possible for all children to return to school for the first time since Hurricane Ivan.
‘We ordered 20 temporary class rooms within, probably, four weeks of the storm because we knew what we were up against. We did not have the dollar figure,’ said Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Joy Basdeo yesterday.
She said that these schooling facilities were ordered early because they take about six week to be constructed.
‘The delay was going to be long and we wanted to get all the children in classrooms by 5 January.
‘We received three or four by conventional means,’ she said, explaining that the classrooms arrived through regular shipping, but the current crunch for cargo space made it difficult to get the remaining units – which can hold some 30 children – on board the vessels.
Government already had 10 temporary classrooms before the storm to accommodate a growing school population, while more schools were either being built or extended. Four were placed at John Gray High School, three at George Hicks High, two at Bodden Town Primary, and one at the North Side Civic Centre.
The wreckage that schools suffered from Ivan means these classrooms will have to be a major feature in pupil accommodation for a longer time as the damaged schools most likely have to be repaired before new ones are built.
Ms Basdeo is none-the-less satisfied that all children will be back in classrooms next month. ‘It’s coming on good, it’s really coming on good.’
At George Hicks the pupils will continue their education on a shift system, with some being tutored from 8 am to 12 noon, and others going to school from 12.30 to 4.30 pm.