An international education official has lamented the state of the public schools system in many Caribbean countries saying it does not reflect the importance attached by Caribbean people to quality education.

Addressing the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) conference in St. Lucia, President of Education International (EI), Susan Hopgood, said that although literacy rates are higher than in most other low income countries ‘education budgets are, in our view, falling short of meeting basic conditions.”

She said that her organisation had received reports about the neglect of school building maintenance, inadequate sanitary facilities, mould infested classrooms, crumbling asbestos rooftops and unprotected power lines.

“Suffice it to say that we wholeheartedly support your demands that education authorities should pay more attention to poor health and safety conditions in your schools and classrooms,” Hopgood told teachers from across the region.

“We hope that together we will be able to have healthy and safe school environments move up the political agenda in all Caribbean countries,” she said.

The EI president said governments should give more priority to the restoration and repair of school buildings when damaged by severe weather conditions which hit the Caribbean more frequently than in the past.

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