Appointment of Estate Managers changed the face of Government schools
After we formed the Government, I started conducting surprise inspections of government schools. During my visits, I was confronted with a major problem faced by all of our schools. Grounds, corridors, classrooms, laboratories, toilets - they were all unclean. Even if some classrooms were occasionally cleaned, the garbage was just swept into one corner of the room. Cobwebs in classrooms, deep red tobacco stains on walls, broken toilets, broken taps, plaster peeling off from surfaces, lavatories without doors - these were all characteristics of most schools. The responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the school premises typically lay with the Principal or Vice-Principal, despite the fact that this was nowhere in their job descriptions as education administrators.
After recognising this problem, I appointed an estate manager in every school. Principals were granted autonomy to appoint or relieve estate managers. Retired military personnel were popular choices for the position.
With the appointment of estate managers, the condition of schools changed drastically. Not only did cleanliness improve, but toilets were fixed, clean drinking water was readily made available, general maintenance was superior. But perhaps those most happy with this decision were principals, vice-principals and senior teachers, who no longer had to look after the school building's maintenance. They were free to focus solely on the academic prowess of children.