Editorial: Sub-standard schools should not be given breathing space

The Government has suspended 57 schools for not meeting set standards. Some of the schools did not meet the minimum hygienic standards, especially in the kitchen and toilets.

Others were not suitable for students with special needs such as rumps for wheelchairs or had no form of lighting. That close to 60 schools could not meet the basic standards is worrying and a pointer that something is very wrong.

Either the inspection mechanisms are weak and inspectors not doing their job or there is laxity. In the first place, no school should have been licensed to operate without the required health and infrastructure minimum.

The chink in the education armour is that most new schools usually meet the requirements, but as time goes on, equipment and infrastructure wear out because of poor maintenance. Those are the ones that should be scrutinised regularly.

So when they see that education officers have let down their guard they seat back and do nothing. However, whatever the case, education officials should not allow students to be exposed to any kinds of dangers, especially health. 

An outbreak of any kind of communicable disease in such a confined environment could spell disaster. So schools should not gamble with the lives of their students.

But the Ministry of Education should not content itself with just suspending errant schools for a while; there should also be some form of monetary and disciplinary sanctions. The mere threat of disrupting someone’s pockets usually works wonders so school administrators should be kept on their toes.