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  • Cabinet has approved the rescheduling of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) from March 19 and 20 to the new dates of March 26 and 27, 2015.
  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, made the announcement during a Jamaica House press briefing, held today (March16), at Jamaica House
  • Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster Allen, advised that schools that were affected by the fire at the disposal site are to be opened tomorrow for normal classes.

Cabinet has approved the rescheduling of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) from March 19 and 20 to the new dates of March 26 and 27, 2015.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, made the announcement during a Jamaica House press briefing, held today (March16), at Jamaica House.

He noted that the decision was occasioned by the disturbance caused by the ongoing fire and accompanying smog at the Riverton City disposal site.

“Of the 38,470 students scheduled to sit the examination over the two days, 11,675 are within the areas affected by fire, which involves 241 schools in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine,” Rev. Thwaites pointed out.

He added that the Ministry’s checks on the ground revealed that some of the GSAT students as well as staff members are affected by the adverse conditions.

“Given the uncertainty regarding the containment of the fire, it would be difficult to go ahead and keep the original dates for the exam. Potentially, the adverse conditions could shift, based on wind movements, and disrupt the examination while in progress,” he noted.

Regarding the option of administering the examination twice, Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry of Education does not have the capacity at this time to implement that, as this would involve cost and time to write new examination papers.

Postponement, he said, was considered the most feasible option as a number of GSAT students with respiratory conditions have been affected by the smog and might continue to be affected during this week.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Foster Allen, advised that schools that were affected by the fire at the disposal site are to be opened tomorrow for normal classes.

“Clearly if there is any continued smouldering or smog covering the schools, then we would advise that the schools close and send the children home, and in the same breath advise parents as quickly as they can, because we are very concerned about the safety and security of the children,” Mrs. Foster Allen said.