New school year, same old problems for Free Town Primary
Free Town, Clarendon:
It's a new school year and students in grade two at Free Town Primary in Clarendon have settled into their classrooms which are separated by two blackboards.
Three students fit into the bench designed for two, hunched together looking uncomfortable.
A walk through the other classrooms paints the same picture.
Principal Ann-Marie Brown told The Gleaner the school is just trying to make do to accommodate the influx of students.
"There is just no more space. We have written numerous times to Food For The Poor, but haven't been successful," Brown said, adding that she hopes the school will get help soon.
That's not the only challenge facing the school in the new academic year. According to Brown, they are now in need of a guidance counsellor (as the previous one resigned), a counselling room, and a sick bay.
Sitting atop her list is a computer lab, as she said that is woefully lacking.
"Presently, we have two outdated computers which we use for remedial lessons for the slow learners," she pleaded.
Despite all its problems, Free Town Primary School remains one of the better-performing schools.
During the welcome devotion yesterday, Brown praised the students' performance in the Grade Six Achievement Test, with emphasis on Oshane Israel, who copped the Jamaica National Building Society Scholarship for outstanding performance.
The principal also had high praises for retired teacher Sylvia Henry, who, accompanied by "four carloads" of friends, went to the school Sunday night and prayed over each classroom.
"In spite of the many challenges, we are going ahead. Parents may not have money, but we are going to trust God and do the best we can," she said to the audience, including teachers, parents and students.