Toward Paperless Schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

This piece is not about the digitalization of school processes and the consequent reduction in the use of paper; it is not about the integration of ICT into the curriculum with the use of digital media; it is not even about the widespread use of laptops, net-books or i-pads that threatens to make obsolete the paper bound text; it is not even about the scarcity of copy paper and the continued reliance on the chalkboard for writing up notes, tests, notices etc. No my dear colleagues, my reflections today refer to a matter of much greater import. My article is about the growing absence of toilet paper in schools across St. Vincent and the Grenadines!

This reality hit me in the face the other day when I noticed that an unusually high number of students, particularly females, kept coming to my office in search of “a piece ah toylit papah please sah”. I had no problem. I have been going “paper-less” in that regard for some time now. So, I had no difficulty in liberally sharing my supply with those who sought the item. The last time I checked, I was completely out.

Then, at an emergency staff meeting a few days ago, the scarcity of toilet paper in the school was accorded priority status on the agenda! The principal expressed concerned about the rapidity with which this precious item seemed to be disappearing. Bails of toilet paper are depleted in a matter of days. Information gleaned from colleagues around the country suggests that this may well be a nation wide trend.

As one who has an interest in educational research, I have an impulse to conduct some investigation in to the issue. Why is toilet paper so scarce in our schools? Has the Ministry of Education been cutting back on the supply? Does it have anything to do with the global economic crisis? Are our schools generating so much filth that an inordinate amount of toilet paper is necessary? Or is it that teachers are taking home the school’s supply of toilet paper?

Going paperless is a notion normally associated with the digital age. Naturally, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not be left behind. Apart from the distribution of net-books to teachers and students, we appear to be cutting back significantly on the use of toilet paper. Perhaps we have found a way to digitize all sanitary activities!

As one writer states: “paperless doesn’t mean no paper. It means simply that technology is giving us new options to reduce or eliminate much of the paper we use today and to enjoy the cost savings that result. Moreover, it gives us the satisfaction of introducing ourselves and our students to the increased portability and accessibility of digitized ideas and to a greener way of doing business”.

Trust the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to embrace the concept of the “paperless school”. But, must we begin with the elimination of toilet paper?

3 responses

  1. progressive woman | Reply

    Pjohn, most of the time we get enough toilet paper but I alwasys notice some trends among our teachers. They do not always use it for the purpose it is intended. Its either they have to wipe off their desks/tables,wipe their shoes or take their supply at home. I’m saying this becauseI’ve seen it happen. One day, a supply of tpaper came. A particular teacher took a six pack for her class. The next day, a student from her class went to the principal and asked for piece. He asked her to go to her class teacher, The teacher told the child”I dont have any”. Did the six pack finish in a day? Some teachers are too dishonest.

  2. resilient woman | Reply

    As housewives, we are aware of how quickly a roll of toilet paper finishes. So if we have schools with hundreds of students toilet paper will definitely finish quickly. Maybe schools are making a requisition for enough toilet paper. Added to that many of the schools’ toilets are in a deplorable condition. Tha main reason being students do not flush them when they use them and they dont clean the seats when they “tinkle”. Therefore, some students use the toilet paper to line the toilet seats before they sit.

  3. Dahlia Williams | Reply

    we can put in toilet biedets instead then… and body driers … smh

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