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Thursday, Christ Church Secondary, located at Camp and Middle Streets, Georgetown, went up in flames displacing 39 teachers, nine support staff and more than 500 students. The fire started shortly after 5 p.m.
This is the fourth school, around Guyana, that has been razed by fires in less than three years, costing taxpayers billions of dollars in damage and to rebuild, displacing hundreds of children, their teachers and support staff, and also resulting in the destruction of records.
Fire razed North Ruimveldt Multilateral School in June, 2021, Mabaruma Secondary School in September 2021 and St George’s Secondary School in July, 2022. The Mabaruma fire was said to be caused by arson.
Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, Saddam Hussain, said Thursday’s fire occurred one week after a smaller fire at the laboratory, which led to the removal of all chemicals there. He said “it is very strange that all of a sudden it becomes very combustible.”
Among the students affected are those getting ready to sit the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams at ordinary and advanced levels. School Based Assessments (SBAs) or lab books were destroyed by the blaze which is a further setback to students writing their examinations in a few months.
Minister of Education, Ms. Priya Manickchand, who was at the fire scene, sought to assure distraught children, teachers and parents the students will be relocated next week. She also said the building was rewired and certified.