Thursday, October 10, 2019
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Ministry of Education’s Hurricane Dorian relief budget to rebuild damaged schools in Grand Bahama will be approximately $20m, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
Speaking during the House of Assembly yesterday, Dr Minnis said the Ministry of Education is awaiting advice from the Ministry of Works on the scopes of work and cost for the repairs needed for the 16 schools on Grand Bahama.
He said: “The Ministry of Works has undertaken to provide those confirmed details to the Ministry of Education by Friday, October 11. The estimate thus far is the Ministry of Education’s Hurricane Dorian relief budget will come in at approximately $20m.
“(The money will be used) for additional furniture and furnishings, for educational supplies, for the busing to school and back to the shelters for Abaconians residing in New Providence, funding for additional security services at these schools, for additional grant-in-aid to private schools who have taken in students at the government’s request, for additional funding for lunch for the increased number of students in New Providence schools, for students from Abaco who are also being accommodated in other Family Island schools and provision for fees to cover parents and guardians who are unable to pay for certain services at schools, such as insurance, etc. “
The prime minister said Hugh Campbell Primary School and Maurice Moore Primary School in Freeport sustained significant water damage from the sea surge.
Schools in West End Grand Bahama experienced minor damage. While East End Primary, Free Town Primary, Sweeting’s Cay Comprehensive and East End Junior High in East Grand Bahama sustained significant damage.
Dr Minnis also said the Ministry of Education is still in the process of tracking down many of the registered 2,500 students from Abaco before Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas. He said some of the students are in other Family Islands, private schools or were displaced by Dorian.
He said: “Approximately 300 students remained in Abaco, not all of whom are in schools, and some students have travelled to the United States. We know also that 50 students are at schools in Andros, and that more than 150 are being accommodated on Eleuthera.
“Approximately 100 students presented for registration at the stadium, who did not have National Insurance numbers as required, who have not been able to obtain an NI number, and who have not yet been placed in a New Providence schools, due to their failure to meet this requirement.”
Dr Minnis added: “National Insurance is among the government offices present at the stadium, thereby permitting parents and or guardians to obtain National Insurance numbers for their children, so that the children can be placed in schools. The Ministry of Education is clear that there must be a process in place for each student enrolled in a government-operated school to substantiate that student’s identity.”
The prime minister said whether Bahamian or non-Bahamian, all students entering government schools must have a NIB number.
He said: “The NIB number is used to track each student throughout their years in the government school sector.”