$32M Special Needs School on track for 2019 opening

first_imgOutgoing Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Denis Jaikarran has revealed that the Special Education Needs (SEN) School at Schoonord, West Bank Demerara (WBD) is on track for its 2019 opening.The soon-to-be-commissioned Special Education Needs (SEN) School at Schoonord, WBD (DPI photo)He provided this update in a brief interview last week, noting that construction on the $32 million state-of-the-art facility is near completion.The SEN school will cater for students who have special educational needs due to severe learning difficulties, physical disabilities or behavioural problems. It has been observed that SEN students faced prejudices over their physical appearance and for their slow learning. Often times, this comes down to conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and dyslexia.Jaikarran, who is being transferred to Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) in the New Year indicated that classes at the facility will commence in the early part of next year. This comes more than one year since officials in Region Three announced the establishment of the unit which will assist in expanding education delivery in West Demerara district.Former Regional Education Officer (REDO) Penelope McIntosh had told Guyana Times in July 2017 that the school will cater to some 30 students and had noted that its staff complement would have corresponded with the number of students enrolled. McIntosh had further informed this publication that establishing such units would see education being provided at a more holistic level in keeping with the overall education programme. As such, the Region established a similar department at the Wales Primary School in Wales, WBD in 2017.In the case of the new facility at Schoonord, the Department of Public Information (DPI) in November disclosed that the building was constructed at a cost of $28.5 million including “four special needs classrooms, a modernised sickbay, staff room for teachers, headteacher’s office, kitchen, four wheelchair accessible lavatory facilities, two wheelchair accessible bathrooms, three entrance and exit ramps and a teacher’s lavatory”.There is also a completed guard hut, external lavatory facility and a completely landfilled yard which all amounted to $3.5 million. Current Regional Education Officer Annesta Douglas was quoted as saying that requisite paperwork was being prepared for the school to have an early start.Guyana Times had reported in 2017 on National SEN Officer Savvie Hopinkinson outlining that the Education Ministry’s vision was to place SEN schools in all 10 administrative regions, with each region having its own Special Education Needs Officer. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img