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Tuesday, June 25 2019 @ 03:31 AM UTC

Education Minister Tells of "Tales of Terror" In School Repair Contracts

Schools & Education"Tales of Terror" was the phrase used by the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, to describe the inadequate rehabilitation work being done by companies in certain schools. At present, the Meduca has opened 17 legal proceedings against the companies who have not complied with the rules of contracts, especially with the date of delivery of projects. Molinar admitted that not all schools will be ready for the new school year, in terms of maintenance. Meduca now only allows contracted repair work to be done on schools where they can place an inspector. Before, MEDUCA would grant contracts to companies specifying expensive materials, but then the companies would install cheaper floors, toilets and sinks that do not meet the basic requirements for the frequency of use, considering the levels of heavy use of the bathrooms in schools. "Before the contracts were granted and no one watched the quality of this work," Molinar reported. She noted there are schools that have the same electrical systems that were installed 25 years ago.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Association of Teachers of Panama (Asoprof), Andres Rodriguez said this year the Meduca has scheduled the rehabilitation of schools nationwide. Rodriguez also said Meduca left the responsibility to the individual school principals for general (routine) repairs, using the Fund for Fairness and Quality of Education (FECE), which is for minor repairs of schools, for example, fixing doors or building new classrooms. "There are schools in Panama City that have problems of water, electricity, and bathrooms. The most recent case is that of the American Institute which does not have a roof," he said.

However, Minister Molinar said she has already spoken with the company about the situation at the American Institute and they agreed upon a work schedule that requires the contractor to have the classrooms ready. "Only one classroom will be without a roof for just one day, because the contractor was asked to do the additional work," said Molinar.

Across the country, the Meduca has contracted for improvement or maintenance work to 139 schools, and of those 72 projects have been delivered, said the National Chief of Maintenance, Guillermo Bernal. It was also learned that during 2012, Meduca is scheduled to improve 1,100 public school campuses around the country, purchasing materials programs for minor repairs through the FECE program, and using prison inmates on work release programs, in addition to the contracts that have been granted for the construction and repair schools. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Of all of the Ministers in the government of Ricardo Martinelli, it is my personal opinion that Lucy Molinar is doing the best job.

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