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  • JIS News

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    • The Ministry of Education plans to expand student placement at high schools in western Jamaica, as it moves to phase out junior high departments at primary institutions.
    • Portfolio Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the phasing out exercise, is slated to get underway soon, and aims to facilitate the creation of infant departments within the targeted institutions.
    • He made this disclosure during an interview with JIS News, after visiting several educational institutions in St. James recently.

    The Ministry of Education plans to expand student placement at high schools in western Jamaica, as it moves to phase out junior high departments at primary institutions.

    Portfolio Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the phasing out exercise, is slated to get underway soon, and aims to facilitate the creation of infant departments within the targeted institutions, as part of plans to strengthen Jamaica’s early childhood education sector.

    He made this disclosure during an interview with JIS News, after visiting several educational institutions in St. James recently.

    In noting that junior high schools are currently “not really doing very well,” in terms of academic outputs, Rev. Thwaites pointed out that “we have the space now and are creating (additional) space in the high schools, so that nobody needs to stay on for a junior high ‘experience’, (because students can) get a full five-year high school (education in the standard secondary system).”

    “So (for example) Mount Salem Primary and Junior High School (in St. James, which has been doing very well) will be shedding their junior high and taking on the infant school (department)… and that’s good,” the Education Minister pointed out.

    Rev. Thwaites noted that several other schools in St. James, such as Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, are also performing “exceptionally” well, but are constrained, to some extent, by “space” challenges.

    “So, we will be seeking, if not for next budget year (2015/16), the one after (2016/17), to offer them some additional classrooms and other facilities, so that they can continue their quest for excellence,” he indicated.

    Other schools visited by Rev. Thwaites and members of the Ministry’s Region 4 Office included: Ray of Hope, Maranatha, Leonora Morris, Mount Olive, Over River, Lottery, Latium and Edwards Early Childhood and Basic Schools, as well as Lottery Primary School, Cornwall College, and St. James High School.

    The Minister said the visits were aimed at, among other things, encouraging continued improvement of early childhood education across St. James.

    “It is (the) Government’s policy to encourage (such) improvement and, where possible, (merge) smaller and less effective early childhood institutions and basic schools into infant schools,” he added.

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