School buses would ease Portland student transfers
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Let me start by congratulating all the students who were recently placed in a high school of their choice in the recent Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), especially to those from Port Antonio Primary School and, in extension, Portland. Well done!
This brings me to my main point, the students in Portland who were placed in high schools after sitting GSAT. Parents are called upon to select five preferred high schools. In this event, their choice of Portland schools include Titchfield High, Happy Grove High, Port Antonio High, Buff Bay High and Fair Prospect High. While the school pickings are slim and more classroom spaces are always welcome, the high schools in the east make the best of the situation.
One perennial issue is that of student transfers - usually to Titchfield, for its traditional academic programme, or to Portland Antonio High, for its holistic development.
One of the main factors why parents/students seek transfers from Happy Grove High is that of distance. A lot of these students and parents hold Happy Grove in high regard, but the inadequate transport system and resulting high cost of bus fare trigger the transfers.
Consequently, I am recommending a school bus system for students who have to make the 27-mile trek from Port Antonio to Happy Grove. Parents have expressed disgust at the bus system that currently obtains, in which pupils have to 'lap up' (sit in each other's lap). This cannot continue if we want Jamaica to be a place of choice to live, work and raise families.