JIS News

Cabinet is expected to sign off on an agreement to purchase a property in St. Elizabeth to accommodate the new “time out” facility for disruptive students.
Minister of Education, the Hon Andrew Holness, gave an assurance on Wednesday (August 18) when he addressed the Jamaica Teachers’ Association’s 46th Annual Conference at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“I am pleased to say that next week Monday the Cabinet will sign the agreement for us to go ahead and purchase the facility. It is the old Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) training facility in Malvern, St. Elizabeth and, as soon as we have signed off on the purchase, then we are ready to go,” Mr. Holness said.
In response to questions from teachers regarding a commitment made by the Ministry to have at least one Time- Out facility opened and operational last year, Mr. Holness argued that serious circumstances led to the failure to deliver then.
“We had actually purchased the property, developed the curriculum, identified the staff, funding was in the budget and we were ready to go when the unfortunate incident at Armadale occurred,” he explained.
“The Ministry of National Security asked us if they could get the facility for three months, that three months has turned into almost a year and a half and that is what accounted for us not being able to deliver that Time-Out facility,” he added. He said that, apart from staffing arrangements, all else was on track for the new facility in Malvern.
The move to establish a residential facility is part of the Ministry’s Adjustment and Social Interaction programme, to deal with the problem of disruptive students in schools.
Mr. Holness said that the introduction of Deans of Discipline in the educational institutions was working well in some schools, but there were problems in others.
“The results have been uneven; some schools are doing well, while some schools are still trying to work out the authority structure between the Dean of Discipline and the Principal,” he said, confirming that principals were in charge of the schools.
He encouraged principals to look at the schools that were doing well, and make the necessary adjustments.
Turning to safety and security issues, he said that there was uneven implementation of the policy in the institutions hence the reason for some schools seeing good results, while others seemed not to be benefiting.
“I guarantee you (principals), if you follow that booklet by the letter we will continue to see a sustained reduction in issues that affect the safety and security of your schools,” Mr. Holness said. He added that stronger policy measures were being developed to support the safety and security issues.
The JTA’s 46th Annual Conference was held over a three-day period, August 16-18. The theme was, “Creative Partnerships: Sustaining Educational Opportunities for National Development.”

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