Relatively smooth start to school year out west
Despite the strike action taken by unionised Montego Bay Metro Company (MBMC) workers, which impacted transportation, in addition to minor hiccups with regard to furniture delivery, the 2018-19 school year got off to a relatively smooth start in western Jamaica.
When The Gleaner spoke to Dr Michelle Pinnock the regional director of the Ministry of Education's Region Four, shortly before midday yesterday, she said, "All schools are open, and we are not having any issues. We have the furniture for the schools, and they are being delivered as we speak, so that is not a concern in terms of starting the school term. In terms of non-delivery of furniture, the affected schools got funding to make arrangements for that."
With regard to school fees, which is usually a contentious issue at the start of each academic year, Pinnock said there were no issues this time around.
Even though some of his students were impacted by the strike action by the MBMC workers in Montego Bay, Byron Grant, principal of Hopewell High School in Hanover, also gave a passing grade to the first day of the new school year.
"The first day was very good, although we had a challenge with a number of students who were late because of the situation at the Metro bus company in Montego Bay," said Grant. "School was in full swing by lunchtime. We have sufficient furniture, so we're off to a smooth start."
New regulations, expenses
While her child was out for the first day attending Hague Primary School in Trelawny, Sue-Ann Bodden was quite concerned about some of the new regulations and expenses parents will have to face.
"Today (Monday) was okay, and I didn't have a problem, although there were some changes, like the way the students should wear their hair. Also, I'm OK financially, but I'm not sure about other parents, and for those who can't afford it, they may have problem with a lot of things," said Bodden.