Tertiary educators union hopeful of swift ASC action

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The Ministry of Education said it is waiting for an assessment of the Antigua State College (ASC) to determine what appropriate course of action will be taken to remedy the issue of the poorly maintained campus.
On Thursday, teachers at the Golden Grove college cancelled classes following last week’s accident that led to one female student being hospitalised when debris from the building struck her in the head.
Since the incident, members of the Union of Tertiary Educators Antigua and Barbuda along with students called for something to be done to address the rat and termite infested buildings that also have inadequate ventilation.
When asked if repairs, expansion or relocation is being considered, Clare Browne, director of education, asked for patience in this matter because it would be premature to speak of possible solutions without the results of the assessment.
“We deal with empirical information,” Browne said. “We would have been having discussions to have ASC become an integral part of the University of Antigua and Barbuda. There were always plans to upgrade the Golden Grove campus, but things have to be done in phases. The ministry is not saying that we are not doing anything. Once the assessment is completed, then we will know what needs to be done and in the shortest time period.”
Patrick Simon, president of the tertiary educators group said the teachers don’t have the confidence that all of the issues will be addressed, but they are hoping for the best.
“We are hoping that once the minister gets the assessment, then he will act swiftly to ensure that the plant is there for all individuals, both faculty and students, because we don’t think it is acceptable for a tertiary institution in the 21st century in such a deplorable condition,” he added.
Simon told OBSERVER media there is inadequate space and furniture to cater to the needs of the 400-plus students enrolled at ASC.
“There is a bigger problem…some departments have very limited classrooms, and we teach a combination of 40 CAPE subjects. When you have timetable, all these subjects with limited space, and all of these things have been affecting the operation of the college. We don’t know what the assessment will say, but no one should have to send their child where they can potentially be harmed,” he added.
The Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance of the institution.
Simon lamented that students have no shelter between classes. When it rains, they have to resort to seeking shelter in the stairwell and even in classrooms where lessons are being conducted.
 

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