JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Senator Noel Monteith has emphasised that every effort was being made to improve condition in affected schools, in the shortest possible time, following the damage done by Hurricane Ivan.
In a statement to the Senate on September 24, Mr. Monteith said the Ministry recognized that although several schools were opened, they were operating under extenuating circumstances.
According to Senator Monteith, the Ministry was cognizant of the fact that there were concerns about electricity and water supply in the institutions.”This is why we have been working closely with the National Water Commission and the Ministry of Health, not only to ensure that piped and trucked water reach the schools, but that the water is appropriately treated to avoid any threat to our students’ health,” he said.
He noted that checks with the majority of schools have revealed that they either have piped or trucked water.
“I have received a list of names of schools to which water is being trucked. The list includes 12 schools in Kingston and St Andrew; 14 in St James; four in Trelawny; two in Westmoreland; seven in Hanover; eight in Manchester; six in St. Elizabeth and six in St Ann. All levels, including tertiary institutions, are represented on this list,” the Senator noted.
He cautioned, however, that some schools might have to function for a few more weeks without electricity. The Ministry was currently in touch with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), to see how best they could expedite the process, he added.
With regard to students currently being prepared for external examinations, Senator Monteith said the Ministry was taking the necessary steps to ensure that students were prepared for practicals, school based assignments and the external examinations.
“The normal flow of the school year has been significantly disrupted. To date, no less than seven days have been lost for some schools, while others are yet to be re-opened,” he pointed out.
“All of us – parents, teachers, community members, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association – we all want to ensure that our children are given adequate time to cover the curriculum and other activities scheduled for this term and this school year,” he added.
The Senator said that consistent with the Education Regulations, the Ministry was ensuring that schools did sessions for the required number of days prescribed in those regulations. To this end, he said the Acting Chief Education Officer was now directing relevant communication to principals on the matter.
Mr. Monteith said the Ministry had been seriously challenged, but was not daunted. “We believe in the God-given potential and the resilient spirit of our people to cope with debilitating circumstances. Our vision is for every child to learn and we are resolved to do all that we can to ensure that every child learns,” he said.
Approximately 34 schools across the island still remain unopened in the aftermath of the hurricane.

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