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JIS News

With four days to go before the commencement of the new school year, the Ministry of Education and Youth is expecting “a smooth start”, Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell has said.
Based on an extensive report that was presented to Cabinet yesterday (August 28) by the Education and Youth Minister, Senator Campbell said that a number of issues were being dealt with, including additional school spaces, the construction of new high schools, and the supply of school furniture.
The Minister, who was speaking to journalists at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said two new institutions, the Rhodes Hall and Hopewell High Schools are to be opened in Hanover by next month, in time for the start of the school year. The two schools, he noted, formed “part of the overall package of 17 schools which were being constructed in the northern and western sections of Jamaica”.
Eleven schools have already been completed. Of the six that remain, the two new schools in Hanover have been tallied among them.
In the meantime, the Education and Youth Ministry has reported that a total of 53 new classrooms have been added to various schools in St. Mary, Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Andrew, St. James, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and Manchester.
Seventeen of the classrooms are ready, while the remainder are expected to be completed by October, Minister Campbell said.
Additionally, of some 84 schools identified by the Ministry as being in need of critical repairs, 38 have been dealt with and the balance are to be repaired during the school year. A total of $11 million has also been provided to regional offices to facilitate minor repairs to schools in the various regions. Under the Ministry’s furniture and equipment programme, over 23,000 pieces of furniture were delivered in phase one and an additional 13,000 were delivered in the second phase.
The Minister told journalists that a gift of desks and chairs has been received from the government of Japan, and these have been allocated for use under the Education Ministry’s Tent programme.
He explained that, “the Ministry has devised a tent programme as a temporary measure for the schools where completion of new classrooms did not or will not happen before the new school year”.
Senator Campbell disclosed that $20 million has been spent on the acquisition of science equipment for laboratories as well as school workshops.
In respect of human resources, Minister Campbell pointed out that 51 new principals have been appointed and vacancies for teachers have been filled, and where necessary, administrative, ancillary, and approved guidance counsellors have been employed within the constraints of the budget.
Funding for schools, he said, was dispatched by the Ministry of Finance on August 15, “so all bursar paid schools and subvention cheques for traditional high schools have been disbursed and overall, we expect a smooth start to the new academic year, and during this week we will continue to monitor the situation”.