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Two new secondary schools are on schedule to open their doors on September 10, to accommodate students at the grades seven and 10 levels. The schools are Troy High School in Trelawny and the Foga Road High School in Clarendon.
Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Jasper Lawrence, speaking at a JIS Think Tank held on (Sept. 5) at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree-Road head office in Kingston, said that the opening of the schools is in keeping with the Ministry’s thrust to provide additional spaces for students.
He explained that while both schools are not a part of the Start-A-School Programme, which entails the provision of 1,200 spaces on a phased basis starting with grades seven and 10, the main aim is to accommodate students that enter high school in these two grades.
“Students enter at grade 7 after the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and at grade 10 after the Grade Nine Achievement Test (GNAT) so whenever we establish high schools, we begin with those two grades and then over a period of time all the other grades will be completed,” he pointed out.
“They have their principals and have selected their teaching and support staff and we are delivering furniture and equipment to make sure that they are adequately supplied,” he informed.
Troy High School is the final school to be completed under the North West Project, under which 17 schools have been built in the parishes of Trelawny,St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
As it relates to Foga Road High School, Mr. Lawrence said that “the principal and board of Glenmuir High school have consented to nurture and work with this new high school to establish the standards for which Glenmuir is noted.”
Mr. Lawrence also noted that other expansion projects are taking place at a number of high schools across the country including Greater Portmore and Ascot High in St. Catherine, as well as several institutions in Clarendon. “We have been assured that these will be ready for the new school term,” he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Lawrence assured that the 11 schools that will be removed from the shift system when the new school year starts in September will have adequate teachers.
“Prior to the change, the schools had adequate teachers for both shifts so the change in and of itself will not necessitate the provision of any additional teachers. What is the most urgent need in those cases would be additional furniture and equipment because two shifts were using the same furniture and equipment,” he explained.
“If we are now bringing more students at school for the same time period, then we would need to do some improvement in the provision of furniture and equipment and all of that is being taken care of,” Mr. Lawrence assured.
According to the Chief Education Officer before the decision was made to disband the shift system at the selected schools, “diagnosis was carried out on the classrooms, the libraries and the laboratories and we determined that the schools were capable of accommodating the full enrollment on a single shift with the provision of additional classrooms in some instances.”
The schools that will be removed are: Melrose Primary and Junior High; Stony Hill Primary and Junior High; New Day Primary and Junior High; Enfield Primary and Junior High; Annotto Bay High; Glengoffe High; Buff Bay High; Dundee High; Cross Keys High; Brompton All-age and Independence City Primary.