JIS News

More than 200 children at the Polly Ground Primary School in St. Catherine will benefit from the addition of a new $9 million five-classroom block, which was officially handed over to the school on Friday (June 15) by Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry-Wilson.
The block was built under the Ministry’s Critically Needed School Spaces Programme, which uses pre-fabricated panels to speed-up the provision of spaces for schools, which are affected by a chronic shortage of space.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony Mrs. Henry-Wilson stated that the Government had a mandate to transform the education system and was taking every possible action to make that a reality, including providing the proper learning environment and access to necessary resources.
“Every child can learn and every child must but every child does not learn in the same way so we have to be very cognizant of that as we develop new methods of teaching and learning,” she said.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson also informed that the Ministry was looking at introducing teachers aides into the classroom so that teachers could place more focus on enhancing the learning process.
The Education Minister said some schools have an unmanageable teacher- student ratio and the aim was to reduce this to an average of one teacher to 35 students. “We believe that if the teachers had more help in the classroom with some of the administrative things they could dedicate more of their time to actually teaching the children and adapting the classrooms to the various needs of our children,” she said.
The Ministry will therefore be seeking to introduce some 5,000 teacher’s aides through the National Youth Service. Using young people from the NYS would be beneficial as they would be within the same age cohort and therefore be “reachable”, the Minister asserted.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson also noted that another strategy being employed is to remove the shift system and as such, the Ministry is seeking to discontinue this system in 12 schools beginning in the 2007/08 academic year.
Grade One teacher at Polly Ground Primary, Kayon Rose told JIS News that she was very pleased with the new facilities. “It makes life so much easier as now there is more space and the teachers can get to teach in better surroundings and with a little more comfort,” she said.

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