Today’s Editorial January 07: Primary school sorely needed

We welcome the news that plans are back on track to build a new facility for George Town Primary School.

When Government announced plans in December to ditch the proposed new school, teachers, parents, students and indeed the public cringed.

If there is any school that deserves new digs, it’s George Town Primary.

It’s one of the few schools on Grand Cayman that consistently gets high marks from the schools inspectorate.

In the 2007 inspectorate’s report, it was found that the school does well in the following ways.

• The way the school helps students to develop self-discipline, respect for each other and a love of learning

• The way the principal leads the school so that her values and vision are clearly communicated, understood and shared by all members of the school community

• Students achieve well in reading, writing, speaking and listening

• There is some excellent teaching that engages and enthuses students, enabling them to make good progress

• The dedication of the principal and staff in providing the best possible care and support for every student

• The involvement of parents and the community in the life of the school

What the school doesn’t do well is offer a pleasant atmosphere in terms of facilities for faculty, staff or students.

The original structure, which was demolished in 2005, was built in the 1950s, but not as a primary school. It got that designation in the 1970s. Once the original building was demolished, more modular units were installed for use as classrooms and offices. There are now nine modular units on the site with more planned.

In effect, the school looks more like an Army barracks than a place where we send our impressionable young minds to grow, learn and become our future leaders.

That’s doing them a disservice.

While we agree with Leader of Government Business that cuts must be made to Government expenditures in these difficult economic times, the building of George Town Primary School is one that we think should proceed, unlike other costly projects in the works that could be shelved now.

It is our hope that the tendering process is successful and that a satisfactory bid, which provides for contractor financing for the project, is made.

It is a shame that the Beulah Smith High School in West Bay won’t also be allowed to go ahead.

The children of the Cayman Islands are this country’s future. We need to do all we can now to ensure they receive the best education in the best environment they can.

We owe it to ourselves and the future of this country to put our money and our energy into the children; the leaders of tomorrow.

In effect, the school looks more like an Army barracks than a place where we send our impressionable young minds to grow, learn and become our future leaders.

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