Harold B. Davis Special School Commissioned

On January 20, 2014, the Harold B. Davis Special School was commissioned.  The school is named after late former Chairmand of the PRRC, Mr. Harold B. Davis, CCH.  Mr. Davis was a dedicated Chairman, with 18 years of service.

The school is was financed by the Ministry of Education.  Below is a brief history of the journey from a small unit with one teacher to the state of the art, fully accessible school for children with disabilities today.

When the PRRC came into existence as the Polio Rehabilitation Centre in the 1960s to provide rehabilitative services for children who had suffered residual paralysis consequent to the poliomyelitis epidemics of the decade, it became apparent that the school needs of the children who resided at the Centre had to be met.  So the nursing staff took it upon themselves to do what was possible in order to develop the literacy and numeracy skills of the children.  As more and more children accessed the residential services, the need grew.  The Ministry of Education was approached for a teacher, and so the school began with one class and one teacher.


The end of the poliomyelitis epidemics saw a gradual reduction in the number of children with poliomyelitis needing rehabilitation.   The Centre then aggressively conducted public awareness programmes via TV, radio, newspapers, health centres and electronic media, attracting clientele with varying physical and developmental disabilities.  The development of the Centre progressed steadily over the years, to its present state as a comprehensive rehabilitation complex.


As time went by, the single classroom expanded to three, each with its own teacher, and was called the Special Education Unit (SEU).  The classes were called Nursery, Prep and Primary.  Now they are called Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.  The SEU places its focus on individualization, as each child while being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, has different needs.  The teaching staff combined efforts with the therapists, the nursing staff, the Workshop staff, the social worker and the parents to address the needs of the children.  To date, we have seven teachers, two aides and sixty-five students on roll, moving closer to the recommended ratio of students to teachers in a special needs school of this nature.  Here the Ministry of Education must be commended for demonstrating its commitment and support for children with disabilities. 


The SEU was housed in the top flat of the building which necessitated the use of the ramp and porters to ferry children to and from class.  This system of transportation was not without its challenges.


The former President of Guyana, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo has always been a friend of this Centre, never failing to attend functions when invited – especially our Christmas Carnivals.  During his final year in office he visited the Centre, and when he saw the cramped condition of the classrooms and saw how difficult it was for the children to use the stairs, and/or the dilapidated wooden ramp, he immediately took steps to initiate the process for the provision of a school at ground level..


Elated at the news, the Management Board and Headmaster wasted no time working along with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education to help bring the school to realization.  In July 2011, the entire management team of PRRC organized its bi-annual retreat to Suriname with the aim of visiting special needs schools, where we took video recordings of the six schools/homes, and had extensive consultations with administrative staff.  The video and photographs were given to Mr. Deen Kamaludeen, the architect, and with much discussions and changes between designer and the Centre’s staff, this gem of a Special Needs School Building now stands before you, providing an environment conducive to the provision of education for children with disabilities in Guyana.