Photo Credit: Provided
Students, lecturers and other staff at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) are complaining bitterly over, among other things, the poor condition of the institution and its equipment.
The issue stems from an apparent lack of finances to repair important equipment which are vital to the learning process of students and work of the lecturers.
These concerns range from non-functioning air conditioning (AC) units, damaged dry-erase board, projectors and photocopier not working, no paper, and mold.
“The place is extremely hot and we have been without an AC for months. It is not fair for us to learn in such an environment. It is simply not conducive,” an upset student said.
“It begs the question, what is the priority of this government and Education Minister? From the way things are going, it’s certainly not the education of the young people,” one concerned staff said.
“The college is falling apart, students are sweating like crazy in their classrooms…The facilities are deteriorating…It is now unbearable. Worst I have ever seen,” said a lecturer.
The educator added, “The lowest of the low…But the college is trying its best with the resources available; this is a government financial issue.”
In recent months, the college has been facing some serious financial issues, including its inability to pay staff on time.
When contacted, Acting President at the college, Dr. Janet D. Smith said like many other public buildings in the Territory, the college has been experiencing some challenges that are caused by the age and structure of its facilities.
"It has also been challenged by declining public resources in recent years," Dr. Smith told BVI Platinum News.
She further stated the decline in resources has had an impact on the college's overall ability to adequately maintain some of the college's equipment and supplies.
"We continue however, to ensure that these are addressed, though perhaps not as quickly as we prefer. In this context, we also try to maintain a level of open communication, particularly with our employees, concerning all these issues and appreciate their patience in dealing with these matters," the Acting President stated.
Dr. Smith also spoke about the mold issue.
"Ensuring the health of all our students and employees is of the highest priority. Accordingly, we continue to work toward addressing the quality of the air throughout areas of the campus, including some offices and classrooms."
She said that in August 2016, they engaged the services of Indoor Air Consultants of Puerto Rico to complete a thorough assessment of all the buildings.
"This assessment was the basis for a detailed plan of action designed to systematically remediate the problem areas. We have completed a reasonable portion of the work and continue to do so in as expeditious a manner as finances permit," Dr. Smith explained.
The college falls under the Ministry of Education and Culture.