DeFreitas lashes Education Director over claims that theft and the war are responsible for current shortage of school furniture

Franz deFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. John’s City South, is lashing the Director of Education, Clare Browne, for comments he made about the shortage of school furniture – especially since the new academic year begins next Monday, September 5.

Browne reportedly told a local radio station that the recent spate of thefts at various schools has impacted the quantity of furniture available for students’ use.

Reportedly, the Education Director is claiming that the thieves removed chairs from the schools’ compounds and took them to their homes.

He also claims to know where the furniture is, adding that the Ministry of Education will be working with the Police to stop this type of deliberate criminal act.

Browne reportedly said that the war in The Ukraine also has impacted the timely delivery of new furniture.

DeFreitas says he is appalled that the Director of Education is blaming thieves and the war for the system’s shortage of furniture at this time – only days ahead of the reopening of schools. 

He notes that the Nation’s children already have lost two years of proper face-to-face learning, and he laments that – now they are back in class – the lack of seating may further impact the delivery of their education.

A resident is asking why the Ministry of Education delayed its order for furniture when it was aware of the war taking place and knew the resulting shipping challenges.

If an order had to be placed, he says, it should have been done during the last term of the 2021-22 school year after an inventory had been taken and numbers determined.

Meanwhile, sources in Education told REAL News, weeks ago, that orders for all supplies, including textbooks and laptops, were placed late and are unlikely to arrive here by September.

Being ready for the new school year was not priority for the Browne Administration, one employee said, because the attention of all the Ministers, at present, is getting themselves re-elected at the upcoming polls.