JIS News

Classes have resumed for students at all 397 government schools in the parishes of Trelawny, St. Ann and western St. Mary, even though some students are being accommodated in makeshift classrooms while their schools are being repaired.
Ezekiel Crawford, Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture Director for Region three, said only 15 of the 250 early childhood institutions and the 147 all-age, primary, junior high and high schools in the three parishes were used as shelters in the post hurricane period even though all institutions were available.
“Fortunately for us, none is being used as a shelter right now. Up to last week, we had persons in some schools, but to date they are all out and schools are back to their normal tasks,” he told JIS News.
According to Mr. Crawford, some 35 schools were badly damaged by the hurricane and as a result, students are either being housed in makeshift classes or creative ways have being found to accommodate the students in the schools.
“In some of the schools, we have to use creative means .some of them are temporarily on shift, some on shift have to shorten their class time in order to accommodate all students back at school.”
“But all in all, something is happening in all our schools. Children are there, teachers are there and teaching and learning is taking place,” he assured.
Among the most severely damaged schools were Galina All-age in St. Mary; Refuge All-Age in Trelawny; Bohemia and Cascade All-age and the newly built Brown’s Town Infant in St. Ann.
Mr. Crawford mentioned that work was underway to repair damaged roofs, but until then, improvisation would have to be made to facilitate the teaching and learning process. In some cases, canvas was being used to cover the damaged roofs, he said.
The Regional Director commended all principals and teachers who have “gone the extra mile” to prepare students for the Grade Four Literacy Tests and the Grade Six Achievement Tests (GSAT) despite the setbacks caused by Hurricane Ivan.
He asked the parents to be patient and cooperative with the school administration and as they work to accommodate the students. “We are open and ready to work with them to achieve the goals of the region,” he stated.