Ministry of education to add a 7th region
Dean-Roy Bernard, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, says that plans are in place and discussions are under way for the ministry to increase the number of regional operations from six to seven, with a view to creating better management and supervision for schools.
Bernard made the announcement while giving the keynote address at the launch of an inaugural Education Officers, Educational Symposium and Conference at the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa in Hanover on Wednesday.
"It is actually a part of the modernising programme of the ministry to establish another geographical region to provide more strategic support to our schools," said Bernard.
"Right now, we have Region Six, which has Clarendon and St Catherine, and they have close to 400 schools managing, and we believe that we need to split that region and to create out of that a Region Seven so we can have more direct support, especially for our schools in Clarendon."
Search for office location
According to the permanent secretary, a search is on for a location to establish an office for the new education region. He said a location was previously identified but there were some challenges with it. He said that the ministry is looking at all possibilities for the build-out of the new regional headquarters, including having two buildings at the same location in St Catherine, or having a separate building in Clarendon.
"What I am happy for is that the road network between the two parishes (Clarendon and St Catherine) is such that we do not have the challenges that we used to have. So it is something realistic, and as a part of the modernised ministry, we are looking forward to having that seventh region to provide that support to our students, teachers, and our schools," noted Bernard.
He further stated that with the concept already in place, it is now about getting the capital support, streamlining the work, and doing the procurement, which is the most time-consuming aspect of the whole project. He said that within a four-year timeframe, it is expected that the new ministry of education regional facilities should be established.