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JIS News

All 161 public schools in western Jamaica are set to open their doors, when the new school year begins in the first week of September.
In addition to the existing early childhood, primary/all-age and high schools in Region 4, comprising St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, five new institutions that have been under construction over the past 12 months are scheduled to begin operations early in the new school year.
The new institutions, Rhodes Hall and Hopewell High, Lucea and Bethel Infant Schools in Hanover and Providence Heights Basic School in St. James, are expected to create an estimated 3,000 additional spaces for the growing population of students across the three western parishes.
According to the Regional Manager for Region 4, Vincent Guthrie, several schools across the region were recommended for infrastructural repairs, and more than 80 per cent of these schools are completed.
“The Ministry of Education normally has plans in place for school repairs right throughout the year. This year some 63 schools were identified for special infrastructural repairs with about 41 completed and fully ready for September. The remaining schools are presently undergoing repairs and should be completed by year end,” Mr. Guthrie told JIS News.
He pointed out that the ongoing repairs may cause some inconvenience, but all schools would be in operation and would be closely monitored by the Ministry of Education.
The Regional Manager said that the construction of new schools and infrastructural repairs would have a positive impact on the teaching/learning environment and the demand for additional spaces in the region.
“The teaching staff in the region has the ability to utilize the additional infrastructure; the labs which are to be built, for example, will make them more effective in the delivery of instructions to students. We are hoping that in that context, the comfort level of students will be enhanced and the staff will be able to produce students who will perform at higher levels in their educational pursuits,” he said.
“We have in fact evaluated a number of our schools and have discovered, to our satisfaction, that they are presently doing a much better job in terms of overall performance. Teachers are accessing opportunities for study and so their own competence levels have increased and all this bring hope to the region,” Mr. Guthrie told JIS News.
He commended the principals, teachers and members of the various school Boards for the tremendous work they have been doing.
“Region 4 has always delivered and we will be looking forward for this to continue. We have strong hopes that things will turn out well, in spite of the difficulties. We are therefore convinced that we will have a very good year,” Mr. Guthrie said.
Gertrude Gardener, a parent and a resident of the Hopewell community in Hanover, where the new Bethel Basic School and Rhodes Hall High are being constructed, expressed her delight at the new facilities.
“I appreciate the new school, Rhodes Hall High that has been built in my community. It will be more convenient for the students and will make it easier, especially in these times when cost of living is so high, it will save a lot in the parents’ pockets. I believe that all schools help to cut down the rate of illiteracy and this school surely will enhance the learning of students of this community,” she told JIS News. A student at the new Hopewell High School, Stephanie McLean said that the new institution would provide students in the area with more classroom space and better opportunities for learning.
“It is more hectic when we have to travel far to school, and the classes are too crowded. in the new high school we will get more attention from our teachers,” Stephanie told JIS News.