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Unique High in dire straits


Lisa King

Unique High in dire straits

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THE UNIQUE HIGH SCHOOL, one of the oldest private educational agencies in Barbados, has fallen on tough times. Many people do not even know that it still exists. 
President of the Lions Club of Christ Church West Jasmine Griffith gave this gloomy assessment last Saturday when the club hosted a youth symposium for students at the Dayrells Road, Christ Church school.
“The club has been working with the school for the past ten years and has seen the condition of it and the hardships it is going through,” Griffith said. Principal Monica Crawford said the biggest challenge facing the school, which has been operating 63 years, is the non-payment of fees. 
“Some parents promise to pay and they never do,” she complained.
“Some of it is bad management on the parents’ part because what I may think is a priority the parents may not.“They have the textbook loan scheme but even that some parents may not even pay for.”
Crawford said Government provided very limited funding of education at the school, which has only two students with full bursaries. 
“When things do not work out, I take my pension and make sure that the teachers are satisfied because I need them to help me teach,” said Crawford, who employs six full-time and two part-time teachers.
“It is rough but I am trying . . .” Unable to read
She added: “I have been teaching some persons who come to me and they could not read at all and I have sat and worked with them throughout the day because I want them to be able to read when they go out there.
“You might not get a CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council certificate) but at least be able to go and do a trade and be able to read the signs around you.”
The school started as a secondary institution but for the past 15 years has also been accepting primary students.
“That came out of some of the students having to stay home to look after the younger children,” the principal explained.
“I decided to let them (smaller children) come so that the bigger ones would be here to get their education.”
She said that academically the primary students were doing fairly well. “ . . . We  have had some go on to The St Michael School, Springer Memorial and also Ellerslie School,” said Crawford.

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