Schools in Western Jamaica Reopen for New Academic Year

All 169 public educational institutions in the western parishes of Hanover, St. James, and Westmoreland were re-opened for the start of the new school year on Monday, September 10.
Acting Regional Director for the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Region Four, Devon Ruddock, told JIS News there was “a very successful start” to the new school term, notwithstanding the challenges faced by a number of institutions due to the passage of Hurricane Dean.
He commended the building officers, whom he said, were “very efficient in terms of assessing and reporting on the damage in the region”. He noted that generally, there were reports of leaking roofs in many of the schools, but the situation is being addressed.
“I want to make reference to schools like Porter’s Mountain and Cain Curran All-Age schools in Westmoreland, which were damaged by the hurricane. The roof at Porter’s Mountain has already been replaced and a toilet facility at Cain Curran was rebuilt. Other schools that were affected by the hurricane are now being addressed,” he informed.
Regional Building Officer for Region Four, Marlon Grinion, told JIS News that some 40 educational institutions that were affected by Hurricane Dean, and which had repair bills of less than $1 million, were assisted by the Ministry to effect repairs in time for the start of school.
“Additionally, where the technical services are concerned in the region, we have an ongoing project through our Educational Transformation Team to deal with the rehabilitation of schools. This programme started in 2006/2007. We are now in the second phase of this project where we are addressing all repair needs of schools in the region, including the upgrading of sanitary facilities and the expansion of the physical school plant, such as at Petersfield High, Dundee All-age, Maud McLeod High and Sir Clifford Primary Schools in order to address some of the space needs in Westmoreland,” Mr. Grinion told JIS News.
He pointed out that other schools would be attended to soon in order to ensure that the delivery of education in the region is at the expected standard.
Despite the challenges, Mr. Ruddock said that principals are “very enthusiastic” about the new school year, with many of them going beyond the call of duty to ensure the opening of all schools.
He noted that the regional office is also looking forward to a successful year. “We at the regional office are committed to quality education and will ensure that all students receive such. I want to wish for all the principals and teachers and supporting staff, a productive 2007/08 academic year,” Mr. Ruddock stated.

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