School safety report still being compiled’
A school safety report promised last year has still to be completed, the education minister said yesterday.
Diallo Rabain explained that the report based on health and safety inspections last autumn was “still being compiled”.
Mr Rabain said: “And so I can’t comment on exactly when and if they will be made public.”
Lovitta Foggo, Minister of Government Reform, said last October that the Government’s health and safety co-ordinator had carried out inspections from August 21 to October 13.
Ms Foggo said at the time that the Health and Safety Office “is currently in the process of preparing a summary report of all inspection findings”.
Mr Rabain confirmed at yesterday’s press conference that all schools had been inspected.
But he added: “Those examinations are ongoing.”
Mr Rabain declined to comment on why Ms Foggo had said last year that the inspections were completed.
He said: “That’s a question you should be asking Minister Foggo.
“But I do know the report is still pending. And once I have sight of the report, then I will be able to comment on the report.”
The pledge to conduct an urgent review of health and safety in all public schools was included in the Progressive Labour Party’s election platform last year.
Mr Rabain added that he was sure that “parts of it will be released, or the entire report will be released”.
He added that the Government wanted to make sure “that our schools are absolutely safe”.
Mr Rabain said: “So if the report takes longer than we expect it to take — just to ensure that the schools are safe — then the report will take longer than we thought it should have taken.
“But I can assure you that the report will be compiled and it will form part of the conditions survey.”
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch gave an update on school condition surveys in the House of Assembly last Friday.
Colonel Burch said that the surveys had been contracted out but had been hit with a “number of issues” over the bidding process.
He said that a test survey would be completed on one school to “iron out the issues”.
Colonel Burch added: “In the interim, a project is under way to get as-built drawings for all schools as well as numbering of rooms for ease of reference on both help desk and reports.”
Mr Rabain promised that schools “will be ready to go” for the start of the new school year.
But he declined to comment on whether Gina Tucker, acting assistant director for curriculum and assessment, and Kalmar Richards, the interim Commissioner of Education, were in the running for the commissioner’s job.
Mr Rabain said he could not discuss who had applied for the post.
He added: “I can let you know that we intend to have a commissioner in place by September.”
Freddie Evans was fired from the post last October but won a substantial payout after he launched legal action against the Governor and the Government over his dismissal.
It was announced in April that Dr Evans would take a job at the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation.
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