Smooth start to new academic year in the West

Smooth start to new academic year in the West

Observer writer

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The new academic year got off to a smooth start yesterday in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, according to Dr Michelle Pinnock, the Ministry of Education's Region 4 director.

According to Dr Pinnock, the National Water Commission (NWC) and the municipal corporations in the region ensured that schools were adequately supplied with water, while “furniture issues” were addressed.

“Today (yesterday) was a good day. We were able to really work in a collaborative mode and were able to not have any issues with water. The NWC and the municipal corporations in the three parishes were very helpful to us and we were able to get water,” Dr Pinnock told the Jamaica Observer.

“Usually what happens is we deliver [trucked water] on the morning of the first day of school, so we wouldn't put water in from Saturday and Sunday. But we put in the water in the morning, so we didn't have any hiccups in relation to that,” she said.

As it relates to the shortage of furniture at some schools, Dr Pinnock conceded there were delays, however, she said they were able to “solve those issues”.

“We are collecting the data and we are going to come up with some creative ways of finding some work-around in reference to the shortages,” Dr Pinnock stated, as she promised that more furniture will be supplied to schools by the end of the week.

In Hanover, Rusea's High Principal Linvern Wright said that his school was off to a smooth start.

“It has been fairly good. Some persons did not come in to do their registration, and they are here now. But we expect that. That is a usual thing at the beginning of the year,” he stated.

He added however, that the school is in need of a science and mathematics teacher.

Meanwhile, the strike by transport operators in Farm Heights and Rose Heights in St James, in an effort to pressure the Government to grant a fare increase, did not significantly impact the attendance at schools in the region.

At Green Island High in Hanover, Principal Vaccianna Moseley said the school had received most of what it needed.

“The good thing is, the ministry was communicating with us ...and they have put in place things that we need so far, and for what we don't have, it was promised to come very soon. So we are sort of ready for school,” Moseley said.

In the neighbouring parish of Westmoreland, principal of the Little London High School Garfield James said apart from safety issues with bike taxis that transport students to school, transportation, in general, was not an issue. He said if the need should arise for more transportation “we have our own school bus”.

James said, though, that the school is in need of a mathematics and music teacher and is awaiting the delivery of furniture from the Ministry of Education.

Dr Pinnock, however, has assured that more furniture will be delivered before the weekend.

Checks made at several schools in St James revealed that there were no major challenges.

— Additional reporting by Horace Hines

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