Several schools to be removed from shift system
During this academic year, approximately 30 schools will be removed from the shift system. It is also anticipated that the remaining 48 schools still on shift will be removed by 2017.
Speaking on Thursday at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites revealed that the removal of schools from the shift system would be done using available resources, as well as working with the schools and other partners to employ inventive means.
To facilitate the removal of the shift system, there will be classroom additions at some schools, as well as the reassignment of students.
"There will also be the introduction of what is called the extended day, which is a tried-and-tested mechanism of staggering students, but each student will get a full day of instruction rather than basically the half day that the shift system allowed," said the minister.
"Many schools are now using this system, and we have carefully prepared teachers and administrators towards this end."
Thwaites said the ministry has also adjusted the levels of intake at some schools and has tried to direct parents to other schools with adequate space.
"We have many, many high schools with 300 to 400 empty spaces. In fact, if you took an overall survey of school places in Jamaica, you would probably have upwards of 40,000 vacant school places, but in the wrong places, not where people live anymore. There has been a huge rural-urban drift and, therefore, we have to adjust the assignments to the places where we have opportunities and where quality can be attained," he stated.
Thwaites said the elimination of the shift system would improve teaching and learning, by increasing the teacher-pupil contact time, as well as by removing some of the vulnerabilities students face by being on the streets very early in the mornings or very late at nights.
In the meantime, 20 schools will be removed from the shift system with immediate effect and at least a further 12 during the academic year.
Among those 12 are Norman Manley, Papine, Albert Town, Cedric Titus, Muschett, Maggotty, Old Harbour and Donald Quarrie high schools.
Below are the list of 20 schools to be removed by the beginning of the new school year:
Stony Hill Primary and Junior High
Pembroke Hall High
Highgate Primary and Junior High
New Hope Primary and Junior High
Grange Hill High
BB Coke High
Roger Clarke High
Hatfield Primary and Junior High
Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High
Osbourne Store Primary and Junior High
Braeton Primary and Junior High
Eltham Park Primary
Spring Gardens All Age