St Catherine state of emergency not expected to affect GSAT
Based on expectations from some school administrators, as well as Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid, the state of public emergency in the
St Catherine North Police Division, should not severely impact general school operations or the staging of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scheduled for this Thursday and Friday.
The state of public emergency was imposed on Sunday and will last initially for 14 days.
Reid disclosed that he received no worrisome report from schools yesterday and expects that situation to continue for the remainder of the week. But he sought to warn parents and students, in general, to obey instructions from the security forces to avoid excessive delays.
"I have had no adverse report, but our advice is to play by the rules. Carry your IDs and ensure that you have no offensive weapons. All are going to be subjected to searches and validation of identity. Overall, I don't see it impacting school operations in terms of teaching and learning," the education minister said.
He revealed that a press conference should take place at the education ministry this morning, at which more advice about the GSAT examinations will be shared with candidates across the island, including the areas under the state of emergency.
The Gleaner spoke yesterday to a few primary-school principals, who indicated that operations have not been significantly impacted, so far, and are not anticipating that GSAT will be either.
"About 25 per cent of the children on the morning shift were a little bit late. It was obvious at assembly at 7 a.m., because we didn't have that many children as we usually would," said Marva Guest, Spanish Town Primary School principal. "However, at the time GSAT begins, which is at 9 a.m., they should be here by 7:30 or 8 a.m."
Wayne Thompson, principal of Old Harbour Bay Primary School, told The Gleaner yesterday that he was not anticipating negative impacts on his students who, he believes, are ready for GSAT.
"I was told that there was some kind of police-military operation Sunday night, but persons have been allowed to move freely. I haven't heard anyone express that there are any adverse effects coming, and we are still having last-minute preparations leading up to the exams," he said.