Health and Safety in Schools

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I would like to welcome my distinguished guests to our program ‘Contents to Action’. With us today is the Honorable Minister of Education, Mrs. Vashti Kanju, The President of The (EFCL) Education Facility Company Ltd, Ms. Amanda Hosein, The President of the Principal’s Association, Ms. Shirley Persad, The President of the National Teachers’ Association, Mrs. April Lalla, and last but by no means least, Child Psychologist, Mrs. Juliana Oyaide. Welcome. I thank you for taking the time to be part of our panel. Today we will be looking at the impact that the physical environment has on the well-being of our Nation’s children. I quote from an article by Marx and Wooley 1999.

A school’s environment is the thread that connects the multitude of activities on a campus. In many respects this thread is almost invisible, yet everyone experiences its influence. Positive social relationships and attitudes about school are as important to the environment as are safe and well-kept buildings and grounds. A safe, clean, and well-maintained school with a positive psychosocial climate and culture can foster school connectedness, which in turn boosts student and staff health as well as students’ educational achievement.

I want to begin by asking the Honorable Minister ‘What is the position of the ministry in this regard and what measures have been put in place to ensure a healthy physical environment? Budget allocation?

Vashti
Physical- surrounding grounds- noise, temperature, lighting, physical, biological or chemical agents. Ms. Hosein what is the role of the EFCL and how has it been influential in achieving the goal of a healthy physical environment? The Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) was formed by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago as a Special Purpose State Enterprise on March 11, 2005; and it officially began its operations on August 02, 2005. Its principal Ministry is the Ministry of Education(MOE) and the EFCL, directly supports six (6) of the specific strategic goals of the education sector as articulated in the MOE Strategic Plan 2002 – 2006, namely: 1. Increasing the number of secondary schools.

2. De-shifting of Junior Secondary schools.
3. Completion of the modernisation and rehabilitation of all secondary schools — including the provision of facilities for the physically challenged. 4. Amending the design briefs for secondary schools.

5. Delivering the components of the Facilities Plan for Primary Schools and the Education District Centres, and
6. Increasing the number of Early Childhood Care and Education Centres in every district.

The EFCL’s current mandates are therefore:
To provide project management services specifically for the School Construction Programme of the Ministry of Education (MOE)
The repair and upgrade of all schools and District Education Offices under the purview of the Ministry of Education and The supply of furniture and equipment to all schools and District Education Offices.

There are key factors that come together to ensure a healthy school environment. We use of a wider range of larger contractors and project management suppliers from within the local, regional and international markets to meet the stated targets in the construction, repairs and maintenance and procurement programmes

We have earned recognition for on-time delivery of projects by improving the internal project management capability and eliminating construction bottlenecks

We improve and/or introduce new technology in the construction, repairs and maintenance and the procurement processes

We have developed a strong IT structure and corporate database that facilitates effective interconnectivity internally and externally

We built an organization that attracts and retains the best in the construction industry whilst developing and strengthening the internal competencies

We have created a profitable entity that increases the confidence of both stakeholders’ and...
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