Schooling in tents

SOME students of two primary schools on Taveuni have been attending classes in tents for almost two years since Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston damaged their classrooms.

The students of Vuna District School and Taveuni South Primary School have been in tents and makeshift sheds after the cyclone struck in February 2016.

It is understood that a request made last year by the Rotary Club of Taveuni to rebuild the school in Vuna district was turned down by the Ministry of Education.

Club president Geoff Amos said they were told not to proceed with construction plans as a contractor was engaged.

“The Ministry of Education informed us that they already engaged a contractor to rebuild the school which is why we backed off,” he said.

“And we had donations of about $117,000 from New Zealand to totally rebuild the school, but when that happened, we returned the money to the donors. If we had rebuilt that school, the students would have been in new classrooms already.”

When asked to comment on the issue, Ministry of Education’s permanent secretary Iowane Tiko said works had progressed.

“Works on rebuilding Vuna District School has started and flowing so far, please see what is the progress,” he said.

At South Taveuni Primary School, students of Year 8 have been in makeshift classrooms with sand and gravel as the floor.

School manager Krishna Reddy said the rebuilding of new classrooms had progressed well.

“The classrooms should be completed by early next year and our students are looking forward to the new rooms,” he said.

“It’s taking a bit of time, but we are glad that work has started and our students will be in stronger buildings. Our buildings that were destroyed by TC Winston were old so we are all looking forward to the new buildings.”

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