- The Ministry will be advancing plans for the conversion of basic schools into infant departments
- 50 schools are in an advanced stage of readiness to become infant departments
- The Ministry has also started back-to-school repairs
Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Grace McLean, says the Ministry will be advancing plans for the conversion of basic schools into infant departments.
“We have 50 such schools that are in an advanced stage of readiness to become infant departments, which would be a part of primary schools in September,” Mrs. Mclean informed.
She was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, held on August 14 at the agency’s Half-Way Tree Road offices.
The Ministry announced in March, several strategies aimed at strengthening the early childhood sector, in light of the fact that the formative years are critical to the development of children.
Some of the strategies include: the merging of uneconomical and ineffective basic schools into primary institutions; teacher training; the development of nutrition programmes; and forging partnerships with stakeholders, which will result in the advancement of the sector.
“What it means therefore, is that the Ministry will add these schools to the total complement of infant departments and infant schools, where we will provide trained teachers and we will provide all of the materials that are required for the preparation of our children at this stage,” Mrs. McLean said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has also started back-to-school repairs, in collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Heart Trust/NTA. Currently, there are some 213 schools on the priority list.
“We have started the repairs…we will not be able to complete all the repairs by the new school year, but we will ensure that the basic necessities are taken care of, as it relates to repairs, so that our students can at least start off the school year with the facilities that are required,” Mrs. McLean said.
Major expansion activities are also expected to be undertaken at the Belair High School, in Manchester, which will become a grant aided institution.
“The Holy Trinity High School is expected to be removed from the shift system, once construction is completed. Other schools included are Garvey Maceo, Belmont Academy as well as the Anchovy High School. These are schools that will be completed with additional infrastructure and hence school places, within the course of the 2013/2014 school year,” Mrs. McLean said.
For more information on back-to-school activities, stakeholders may contact the various regional offices across the island – Kingston and St. Andrew at 922-1400-9; Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary at 993-5603; Trelawny and St. Ann at 975-2703; St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland at 956-6929/6930; St. Elizabeth and Manchester at 962-1753; and Clarendon and St. Catherine at 983-1654.