The Kato Secondary school, located in Region 8, was finally commissioned yesterday after being bedevilled by a number of issues that delayed its completion.
The commissioning of the state of the art institution was witnessed by Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry; Minister of Public Telecommunication, Catherine Hughes; and Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan.
In delivering the feature address, Henry expressed her delight that at last the school was finished and commissioned. The Education Minister told the gathering too that the process of arriving at this juncture was an interesting one.
This process, according to her, provided the Ministry with the lessons of persistence and staying the course. Minister Henry said that the completion of the structure can only improve the quality of life for that community since quality education will be provided in a modern space.
Further, the Education Minister noted that having the facility is not the end of the road but rather it is the beginning of a paradigm shift, putting the people first. Added to those Minister Henry noted that the event is a testimony to the fact that the Ministry is serious about reducing the disparity that exists between the coastland and the hinterland.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms Adele Clarke, in her address explained that in 2010 the Education Ministry recognised the need for an additional secondary school in Sub-Region One since there was overcrowding at Paramakatoi secondary at the time.
It was this that birthed the idea of having a new school in the North Pakaraimas area. According to PS Clarke, initially, there was a strong debate as to where the new school should be located and Kato became the preferred option. Having completed the tendering process in December 2012 a contract was signed to the tune of over $728M for the construction of the building. There was an additional $55M that was expended for furnishings and $37M for the installation of the photovoltaic system at the school.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Mr Marcel Hutson, in proffering remarks, said that the occasion was a significant one because a state of the art school has been built in the hinterland community to serve the nation’s children.
In the current setting education is both a necessity and an investment which everyone should embrace with the seriousness that it deserves, Mr Hutson said. Further, the former teacher posited that the era where education is acquired or delivered in crowded and stressful classrooms is becoming an issue of the past. The CEO said the Ministry has taken a firm stance in ensuring that its policy on education as a top priority is fulfilled with the provision of proper infrastructure and sound curricular.
The state of the art structure features several buildings, an administrative building, a student dormitory with dining facilities, a teachers’ quarter, the main teaching block with a library, science and information technology labs, a smart classroom as well as the Home Economics and Industrial Arts Departments.
Currently, the Grade B School has a student population of 295 along with 11 teachers and 30 supporting staff.