Munro makes about-turn

Munro makes about-turn

Girls admitted to sixth form now told to register at Hampton High

BY KIMONE FRANCIS Observer online reporter

Monday, September 15, 2014

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MUNRO College in St Elizabeth has put a sudden brake on the participation of 13 girls registered for its sixth form programme, only two weeks into the start of the 2014/2015 academic year.

The girls, three of whom matriculated from the lower sixth form and 10 newly registered, were told they could no longer wear the Munro sixth form uniform but instead, come today, they would be re-registered as Hampton High School girls -- Munro's sister school -- also located in the parish.

One parent, who asked that her name be withheld to "protect" the future of her child, expressed her displeasure to the Jamaica Observer of how the matter was being handled by the management of the school.

"The girls were dressed in the Munro colour of a navy blue skirt, black shoes and navy blue socks, they were given the Munro school tie as well as the Munro pin -- the entire Munro uniform attire -- only to be told the week after they get to school that there is an issue with it and they are not supposed to be wearing Munro uniforms. They were [subsequently] given Hampton ties by the principal of Hampton and were told that is what they would be wearing come Monday morning."

"I was surprised [as] nothing was communicated to the parents, and I find it very disappointing that they spoke to the girls, who do not finance themselves, and not with the parents," she continued.

"I wanted my daughter to graduate from Munro because that's the institution she applied to. After she received her CAPE results I called them the very Monday and I asked all the necessary questions as it relates to having her registered," the parent said.

She said at no point in time was she told of any procedure in which her daughter would register through Munro and then move over to Hampton High School but was instead told that the school's principal, Arnaldo Allen, would be drafting a letter to inform parents as it relates to the way forward.

When the Jamaica Observer contacted Allen he declined to address the issue directly. "I am not going to speak on that issue; I have not had any final discourse with the parents on the subject so I don't wish to speak to the media at this point in time," he said.

But the disgruntled parent claimed that it was the members of the Munro Old Boys' Association who have objected to the idea of an integrated sixth form programme and as a result "the programme is being discontinued".

"While I can't say it is sexist, is it that they realise they don't want to break the [all boys] tradition? I am just not sure," she said.

President of that association, Arthur Williams, however, told the Observer that he was not privy to any issue at the school regarding registration and denied those brought against the association he heads.

"I know nothing of that; we don't have any issue at all," said Williams. "In the first place when the sixth form started it was always the intention that the girls would register through Hampton but Hampton wasn't ready so that is how they became Munro girls. The idea was that if you are a boy you would register through Munro and if you are a girl you would register through Hampton," he said.

It was further explained to the Observer that Campus Two, where the sixth form programme is facilitated is governed by the Munro and Dickenson Trust and is an extension of the school to offer sixth form programmes which cover Humanities and Education and caters to students from all over. The application is done through Munro but when students graduate, the boys become graduates of Munro and the girls, graduates of Hampton.

The parent insisted, however, that this was not communicated and said what was equally alarming was the fact that they are to be given "small amounts of cash" as compensation.

"They are expecting the parents, with the $5000 compensation that they said they are going to give us to get the Hampton uniforms. I said to the principal that money cannot suffice, he then told me to compromise. I don't see why I should compromise when it is not my fault," she said.

In addition, she said, "The school fee is more than Munro's so I questioned what would happen but no one seems to have the answer, it is beyond confusing and frustrating.

"If all of this was communicated to me, my daughter and I would have had a conversation as to whether she wanted to become a Hampton girl or not. If there was an issue... communicate that to us as parents instead of allowing the girls to start then telling them they cannot finish," said the parent.

Last year, Munro College became the third all-boys high school to implement an integrated sixth form programme. The two other boys' schools --- St George's College in Kingston and Cornwall College in Montego Bay -- took the lead in accepting girls to their sixth form programmes.

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