Some western schools still not ready for new term
While some school principals in western Jamaica are in a state of readiness for the start of the 2018 school year, which is less than a month away, there are others who have still not received their supplies from the Ministry of Education.
In interviews with several principals, The Gleaner was given varying summaries on the state of readiness of the various schools, ranging from being adequately equipped to having a wait-and-see attitude with regard to the delivery of supplies.
Michael Ellis, principal of Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St James, said that the school's furniture was up to date and that work was being done to prepare the facility for September.
"We could use more books since some of those in our book-rental programme are aged, but we are ready in terms of furniture," said Ellis. "We're doing upgrading work on the bathrooms and are also looking at security because we're looking to have structured business hours about which the public will be advised."
By contrast, Clayton Smith, the principal of the Grange Hill Primary School in Westmoreland, said that his school had yet to receive books or furniture, which he indicated was a longstanding problem.
"I heard the Ministry of Education saying that all schools are ready for back-to-school, but I don't know of my school getting anything," said Smith. "I'm accustomed to hearing the declaration and not receiving items until during the school term."
Damion Elvin, principal of the Hague Primary School in Trelawny, was more optimistic despite his school not having yet received new school books.
"We haven't got our books yet, but I'm expecting the ministry to send them in time for the start of the school term. Classroom settings are okay, and we don't have a challenge with seating," said Elvin.
Floyd Green, the state minister in the Ministry of Education, recently announced that schools were to be provided with furniture ahead of the new school year.
"The early provision of furniture enables schools to prepare and to also see where there are deficiencies so that the schools could then communicate with us that the deficiencies exist," said Green.