JIS News

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture is currently reviewing strategies to deal with the loss of schools days due to the adverse effects of Hurricane Ivan.
Education Minister, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who made the disclosure at a press briefing held at her National Heroes Park office on September 15, said the “Ministry recognizes that with the loss of school days, consideration has to be given to ‘making up days’ including the extension of the school year. We are taking this under advisement and will inform the public of the outcome.”
“We know that every day that is lost in school is of significance in terms of the learning process and we note the attempts being made by schools in doing whatever is possible to ensure that the children do not lose too many days”, she noted.
For example, she said, principals had been very creative in attempting to accommodate the opening of schools as much as possible and some institutions had resorted to operating two shifts. She assured that the shift system would only be a temporary measure and would not be applied to schools in volatile areas.
Other schools are currently holding classes for one or two hours and students are given assignments to take home. These assignments are assessed by the teachers upon the students’ brief return to school.
In this regard, the Minister is urging parents to play an active role in ensuring that their children followed the instructions given to them by teachers.Mrs. Henry-Wilson said further, that it might become necessary to relocate some students and where this had to be done, parents would be fully informed.
With regard to the repairing of schools that were damaged during the hurricane, the Education Minister informed that the plan was to categorize schools according to the nature and extent of the damage, so that work could begin on those institutions with critical needs.
She lauded the work of parent teachers and alumni associations, noting that they had been instrumental in leading the clean up and restoration efforts for the re start of classes.
In terms of the extension of the school year, the Minister noted that concentration would be given to the lengthening of the Christmas and Easter terms, given that examinations such as GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) and CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) are usually on the eve of the summer holidays.
Meanwhile, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is making every effort to clear the approximately 320 schools across the island that are being used as shelters.

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