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Posted: Wednesday 10 July, 2024 at 2:23 PM

Education Ministry takes stock of students' safety amidst rising temperatures

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – AS the Federation and other territories across the region continue to record more hot days due to climate change, the Ministry of Education has taken note and is currently in the process of ensuring the safety of both students and teachers.


    In 2023, the world recorded some of its hottest days, and the Caribbean region has experienced dry, steamy weather for the better part of the year. This has raised concerns within the education sector as some institutions have vents that facilitate airflow, allowing external hot air into the classrooms.


    During a recent conversation with SKNVibes News, Lisa Pistana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, noted that it is not just the students but also the teachers who operate within the same environment. She stated that the ministry has asked parents to assist with fans and other cooling devices for the various schools where possible.


    ““Our teachers work in environments where, you know, there are fans sometimes, sometimes there are not. We're asking for the parents, where you can donate, please donate. Because fans are something you can go and easily buy and bring into the classroom. So that your students and the teacher who teaches them are cool,” Pistana urged.,” Pistana urged.


    To this end, she emphasized that the ministry wants to partner with the broader St. Kitts community. In the interim, the ministry has urged teachers and other staff members within schools to be considerate to the students if they need a refreshment break.


    “We are trying to think of their health and wellness. And one of the ways is, again, hydrate yourself. Make sure you remain cool,” she urged. If you need some down time - we talk about learning and learning loss, but you also have to learn about your body. And so, sometimes maybe just the quietness within the classroom can help them.””


    Students, like adults, often find it difficult to concentrate in hot conditions. With this in mind, the PS suggested that giving students a period to relax before moving into session should be considered.


    SKNVibes News asked the PS if the Ministry will be retrofitting schools to accommodate more airflow or adopting an open-plan design. " Well, that's always in consideration as we do any changes to our school plans. And that's why we talk to our principals about, you know, sometimes community members are eager to help you make a change. But we need to consult with our civil engineers to make sure the change is the best fit for the school."


    As the ministry looks at making adjustments, she believes that simple things like installing windows need to considered.


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