Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Grace McLean has reassured the public that steps are in place in the event that a natural disaster should disrupt the beginning of the new school year.
She said the ministry has been working closely with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and they are on the alert if there should be a disaster. She was responding to The Gleaner's queries about what steps are in place to deal with any hurricanes or floods at the start of the new school year.
"Well we are always prepared in the event of a natural disaster, principals at various schools were alerted from the start of the hurricane season in June and especially for the months of August and September, we will be on the lookout in the event that something should occur," she said. The hurricane season ends on November 30.
"We have also been monitoring the school year, and if we happen to lose school days as a result of a disaster, we will be looking at ways to make up for it so that students won't be at a disadvantage," said McLean.
McLean also told The Gleaner that they are in the final stages of preparation and that everything should be ready for the new academic year. She also used the opportunity to point out that plans will be put in place to improve both GSAT and CXC results.
"We have one week left for final preparations and everything seems well so far, and we are sure that we will be ready for the new school year.
"A preliminary report is currently under way and is expected some time in October ... the ministry has put two committees in place that will see what can be done to see improvements in our overall results from the primary level, and especially to see how well we can improve results in mathematics and English at the CSEC level," she explained.
Call for parents' support
The officer also charged parents to offer as much support to their children and play active roles in their lives.
"I just want to tell our parents that we owe it to our children, and as the new school year approaches, I want to encourage them (parents) to be there for their children and offer as much support as you possibly can. Education is the only gateway to achieving in this life so we can't afford to treat it lightly," she charged.