Stop acting like children

Gill Temple

As a former teacher from the Britain, I can not understand what this latest uproar is about regarding the building of 2 new secondary schools. Anywhere else in the world, parents, pupils and teachers would be rejoicing at the fact that millions of pounds are being invested into education. 

Gibraltar has been given an amazing opportunity which will benefit future generations. Whilst UK schools have crumbling roofs or toilets that don't work, and their sports fields sold to developers - who then build houses putting a further strain on the schools resources. Gibraltar teachers Association are upset by their lack of input into the building of these school and the shared resources.

At the moment, you have a school that cater for boys and the other that cater for girls. Is it not true that the facilities vary greatly depending on your gender? Surely the opportunity to have equally modern and state of the art technology and share those facilities would be a whole lot more desirable than the current position you now have?

<b>A step in the right direction</b>

It isn't just a matter of equality of resources, the fact that children will not be gender segregated from each other is a huge step in the right direction. Separating the genders in schools worked beautifully in Victorian Britain, when the factory owners wanted boys doing one job and the girls in the kitchens or work houses. Equality has moved on, as have genders recently, with new phrases like "gender fluidity" hitting the dictionaries.

This bold new enterprise, is not only ambitious but innovative and set with a very tight time scale. The buildings on site need to be taken down and the new schools built for children to sit in their classrooms for September 2019. If I was a teacher in Gibraltar, unless my job was at risk, I'd be grateful that the Gibraltar Government had done something, unlike some Countries where education is least of their top ten worries. We all know that building plots are at a minimum. Some thought has gone into the location on the new Bayside and Westside school. It is near the bus terminus so there is easy access for children and teachers wherever you live on the Rock. It caters for a huge expanse of housing estates located within walking distance. It will be Gibraltar's jewel in the crown for tourists as they walk past every day from the ferry terminal. The design is modern, it has a small entrance of steps leading out into a wider expanse of court yard, surrounded by classrooms. One of the worries the teachers are putting forward is regarding security. One imagines they mean the security of the children as well as the building. The employment of security staff or an on site office is a simple cure that can be addressed at any time, without delaying the building works from starting. The fact that the schools are adjoining only aids security surely.

The one thing that did concern me the most was the fact that there were concerns that the new St Martins School was part of the new complex. From my own experience integration of disabled children is not just for their own benefit but for every pupil that attends. To put it in very blunt terms, it is more likely that children that attend secondary schools are the very people that may have a child with a disability in the future. It's less likely to be the disabled. Again it's this Victorian work house ethic of hiding the imperfect away from public view. It's plain and simply wrong. Disabled children have different needs and need different equipment or levels of education. They however also need to mix with their peers or at least be visible.

<b>Golden opportunity</b>

Just as the secondary educationist need to know that there for the Grace of God go they. It makes for a better society, which embraces society. I hear that the GTA are now planning further meetings and are going to decide what action to take further. What exactly are you going to do? Stop the build? Really are you prepared to ruin the golden opportunity that have been handed to not only teachers but generations of pupils just because you the GTA feel excluded. I guess the pupils that have attended St Martin's in the past, hold the same argument.

Nowhere in the world has a nation invested so much money and effort into obtaining top of the class facilities. Gibraltar lacks space, but despite this, a large area is being designated to education. I could understand if another casino was being built or something else and education was being left out of the financial budget, that would be a reason for the GTA to complain. There is an old saying "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" It means it's a gift don't be so ungrateful and look to see if the gift is healthy or not. The GTA, in my opinion, has been given a thoroughbred racehorse not some old nag that needs to be put down.

It might be a Gibraltarian pastime to moan about everything even when it's a good thing. I beg you to think what you are doing. These schools need to be built and to be finished by September 2019. No parents are going to thank you if their children have no school to attend. No teacher is going to be shaking your hand and congratulating you if they have no school in which to work in. Stop acting like children and be excited by this new venture in Gibraltarian history.