Students of Panaga school may be relocated again

National 2 minutes, 35 seconds


AROUND 500 teachers and pupils of Panaga Primary School were set to be moved again, after the school was affected by another bout of floods.

They were expected to resume classes for all levels on Monday at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Seria Religious School.

After an initial bout of flooding, the Ministry of Education (MoE) temporarily relocated 340 pupils from Year Two to Six to Lumut Secondary School from January 6-11 to allow for the Panaga Primary School to be cleaned up.

“Tea-stain”-coloured floodwaters were said to have reached a depth of 0.4 metres.

“Eighty per cent (of the school) was already cleaned, but what can you do? We have to do this again,” Panaga Primary School Principal Hjh Norzurina Hj Assim told The Brunei Times on Thursday.

“We were in the middle of organising everything to be operational. Then it happened again last (Wednesday) night; the rain didn’t stop. It is worse than how it was the last time.”

The principal explained that half of her teaching staff will be in Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Saadatul Bolkiah Seria Religious School and the rest will be cleaning up at Panaga Primary School.

The principal iterated that the cause of the flooding was due to improper drainage.

“They (authorities) knew about this already but still no action is taken, and the problem persists again today and this is what happened,” she said.

She hoped that the second occurrence of flooding would make them realise the extent of the problem.

Hjh Norzurina explained that as early as 10am on Wednesday morning, the school informed parents that if the rain continued into the next morning, there would be no school. Parents were also informed about the school closure through WhatsApp and Facebook, she added.

She also noted that on Thursday, despite limited access to the school, around 10 or 20 parents were seen sending their children.

As the floods disrupted lessons at the start of the school year, the principal shared that the teachers’ academic planning for the year has been affected.

“Our priority is the kids’ learning. We don’t want it to affect them and their studies,” she said.

The school took steps after the first incidence of flooding by saving textbooks and school materials. The principal said that the loss was not as bad as during flooding experienced in the past.

When asked if students will have to make up for the missed work, the principal said, “We are not sure yet. We have to talk with the parents first.”

The MoE made the decision to relocate the students and teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, following a site visit there by the education minister on Thursday.

“We must be sure the school is really clean and really safe for them,” the school principal said of the clean-up efforts.

The school will be working together with the MoE, the Public Works Department, the Fire and Rescue Department and the Ministry of Health for the clean-up.

No date has been set concerning the pupils’ return to the Panaga Primary School.

The Brunei Times