Published: 3rd of June, 2023
Dormitories, called “dorms” for short, in Guyana, and perhaps also in other parts of the world, are constructed in the same compound of a school for the purpose of housing students who have to travel from far flung areas to a centrally located school.
Dorms are especially utilized in interior locations for the indigenous population who live in sparsely populated remote areas. The St. Ignatius Secondary School, for example, is located right next to the town of Lethem in Region 9, and caters for students from as far as Karasabai Village in the North Rupununi and Katoonarib Village in the South. Other schools with a considerable dorm population include Annai Secondary, Aishalton Secondary, and Sand Creek Secondary.
Because it would be impossible for most of these students to find their way to school and back everyday, the dorms provide a live-in solution. Students live at the dorms under the care of the “dorms mother” and “dorms father” who both come under the supervision of the headteacher. The students at dorms are given free meals and good care which are paid for by the Guyana Government through the Ministry of Education.
But life for the dorm student has come under criticism from time to time, with people questioning whether it really is a healthy way for students to be kept. On the 1st of May, 2023, a former student of St. Ignatius Secondary School Dormitory wrote a short piece reflecting on his life at the dorm during his time there. We’ve decided to reprint it here because it gives a firsthand account of what life at the dorms feels like and answers many of our questions.
Copied from Edwards Leroy. 1st May 2023
St Ignatius Dormitory, the place that brings back memories of my friends and classmates, memories of laughter and tears…. My biggest regret living there was that I did not realize how great an opportunity I was given: free food, free accommodation, time given to study…and yet I did not make use of these blessings.
This is the place where you learn to be obedient and disciplined, tasks given where you have to be in charge of other students in completing it…. Most will not obey you, but it teaches and prepares you for the world of work. Many of the administrative skills I practice today began at this place.. thanks to ALL those who worked and continues to work.
I wish the students living there now realize the opportunity they have. Living in the dorms teaches you that we are all brothers and sisters, but sadly some of us have gone to the realms above #RIP.
On behalf of all the former students of dorms, special thank you to the Dorms mothers, fathers, and cooks. Thank you miss Emelda James, Ms Patsy Michael, Ms Mary Joan Thomas, and others. #memoriestocherish