KINGSTON, Jamaica— The shift system will be removed from Bridgeport High School in Portmore, St Catherine, by the 2024/25 academic year, says Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams.
This move will impact 1,626 students, of whom 900, who are in grades seven to nine, are now on the morning shift.
The remaining students are rostered for evening classes, while sixth-form students have an entire day of class.
Bridgeport High is the second of 32 schools being removed from the shift system. This follows Black River High in St Elizabeth, for which the system’s removal takes effect at the start of the 2023/24 academic year, in September.
Speaking with JIS News during a Wellness Check-In session by the Ministry of Health and Wellness at Bridgeport High on Wednesday, Williams said the Education Ministry continues to move apace with its mission to remove the shift model from all schools now using it.
This, she pointed out, is especially because of the “stress it causes on our students”.
“Students in shift schools don’t get that many hours of contact time with teachers, because their shift has to be shortened, and the teachers and Principals are under stress as well,” she stated.
Williams also advised that a signed contract to build an 11-classroom block at Bridgeport High, was slated to be handed over to the developers, during a meeting at the Ministry in Kingston on Wednesday.
“There are going to be 11 classrooms, student restrooms, two storerooms, two science labs, a workshop and a wheelchair lift station. It is estimated that it will take 10 months to build,” she informed.
For her part, Principal of the school, Beverley Harris, said the teachers have welcomed the institution’s planned expansion.
“We have 103 teachers, including the Principal, three Guidance Counsellors, one Dean of Discipline and three Vice Principals,” she disclosed.
Of this number, Harris indicated that 59 teachers are scheduled for the evening shift and 44 in the morning, “because the afternoon shift is where we have the technical/vocational courses for the different areas”.
Member of Parliament for St Catherine South Eastern where Bridgeport High is located, Robert Miller, added that the move will not only alleviate challenges experienced by the school’s administration but also provide students with the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities.
“Currently, the students have to get up early for the morning shifts, and extracurricular activities cannot be had because some are on one shift, some are on another. This will help them to do more extracurricular activity and it will give the school more advancement in whatever area they choose to venture in,” he stated.