Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the Ministry remains cognisant of the critical importance of safe transportation in the thrust to resume face-to-face teaching and learning at schools.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on November 30, she noted that many students rely on public transportation in commuting to and from school, and as such, it is imperative that students have available to them, transportation services that carry them in a safe, reliable and responsible manner, observing established protocols.
“The support of the Ministry of Transport and Mining (MoTM), from a monitoring and enforcement standpoint, is indispensable. Indeed, the MoTM is an imperative partner in seeing to it that children who have to rely on public transportation are carried to and from school in a manner that is safe and responsible,” Mrs. Williams said.
She informed that the Ministry has in place a rural transportation programme to accommodate close to 7,500 Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and other needy students from 250 primary and high schools, across 13 parishes.
This service, she said, will be reactivated to support targeted students of schools that will be open for face-to-face classes.
“The Ministry will also continue to strengthen its partnership with Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) to accommodate students in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and targeted corridors in St. Thomas and Clarendon,” Mrs. Williams noted.
In addition, the student passenger rail service is being organised by the MoTM, in partnership with the Education Ministry, the Railway Corporation of Jamaica and JUTC and will commence operation from Old Harbour and Linstead to Spanish Town, once schools are resuming face-to-face teaching and learning.
Mrs. Williams said under the guidance of the MoTM, the student passenger rail service will provide transportation service to at least 400 students daily.
The service will observe established infection prevention and control protocols and is expected to have ongoing monitoring and assessment.