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No entry tests for primary schools - Thwaites

Sunday, March 02, 2014    

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Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites is again calling on primary school principals to desist from administering entry tests to new students, noting that admission must only be based on space availability.

He issued the reminder as he addressed the official opening of the new Red Hills Primary School in St Andrew last Wednesday.

"Members of the board, principal and administrators, there is to be no test entry into the Red Hills Primary School. Every child, who is within the curtilage of the school, must, as far as space allows, be given a place," he stated.

The minister, while outlining the policy against entry tests, also reiterated his call for parents to send their children to schools within their communities.

"Parents of Red Hills, there is no need to send your children down the hills for primary education. Let them grow where they are planted, right here," he said.

Turning to the cut in the education budget, from $1.7 billion to $1.5 billion, in the recently revised Estimates of Expenditure, Thwaites explained that this was because "we have been unable to spend some of the money that was voted to us. It has been taken back, but, is to be given in the new Estimates of Expenditure, which I am pleased to say, appear to retain the same strength."

The Red Hills Primary School was built under the Primary Education Support Programme (PESP) at a cost of

$256 million.

The new institution, which replaces the Red Hills All Age, will accommodate 630 students. It comprises 19 new classrooms, a library, wheelchair ramps, administrative block, performing arts and multi-purpose rooms, an upgraded playfield, and a multi-purpose hard court.

Minister Thwaites said that the student/teacher ratio at the school is about 1:21, which is good by local and international standards.

"We expect a higher standard of outcome here at Red Hills. The construction of this new plant ... has created conditions that are conducive to teaching and learning," he stated.

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness, in his remarks, implored the entire school community to "use these facilities that have been provided at great cost, to the fullest. Get the maximum benefit out of it. I also charge you to care these facilities for generations to come."

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