Some schools unprepared for the new academic year

Published: Wednesday | September 2, 2009

Ryon Jones, Online News Writer

Yolande Slater, a grade three teacher at Alpha Primary School, makes back-to-school preparations in her classroom in Kingston Monday. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

The new school year, which started for some institutions as early as Monday, will find at least one school in the Corporate Area not ready.

"We did not get any money, so we have not done any painting or anything," Cynthia Cooke, principal of Camperdown High School, told The Gleaner.

"We usually paint but this year we were unable to. The usual main-tenance and fixing up have not been done. We just got some money (from the Ministry of Education), but we got it late and it is not enough to do everything."

No sign of new books

The book-rental programme at the school is also suffering with new books not yet available for the students.

"The new books have not arrived as yet from the ministry. We should have got them already, but they are not here as yet and the first-form books, in particular, are in high demand," said Janice Campbell-Lee, who is in charge of the book-rental programme at Camperdown.

At the Dunoon Park Technical High, the smell of fresh paint was in the air and the sight of the grounds was pleasant on the eyes.

At Alpha Primary School two teachers were busy cleaning their respective classrooms when The Gleaner visited the institution.

"I am motivated to do so as I want what is best for the children. Some of them might come in with various ailments and I don't want the dust to affect them," said Yolande Slater, a grade three teacher. "Even now, as I am cleaning up the classroom, it is affecting me as I have terrible sinus problems, but I do not want to work in a dirty environment, as it would represent me and I am not a dirty person."

Lack of security

Alpha Primary Principal Phyllis Anderson said she and her staff were trying to get things done with the little they have.

"Security is high on our agenda. We are putting up a security fence; we would like to go further with it but we can't afford to," she said. "Parents used to contribute to maintenance, but now they have stopped. That has really set us back. We had a security guard, but we are seriously considering if we can continue as less than 20 out of the 1,140 parents have contributed this year. This year has definitely been more challenging than last."