It appears the perennial problem of inadequate furniture is still plaguing schools, despite Education Minister Ronald Thwaites saying more than 16,000 pieces of furniture had been delivered to schools.
The majority of schools The Gleaner visited in St Catherine and Kingston and St Andrew on the first day of the new school year revealed that the main problem affecting reopening was insufficient furniture.
Principal of the Denham Town High School in western Kingston, Audrey Williams, yesterday said she was still anticipating some much-needed desks and chairs from the ministry.
"Desks and chairs are not adequate at all. We bought some from the funds we have; however, it's still not enough," Williams said.
Over at the Naggo Head Primary School in Portmore, St Catherine, the complaint was similar.
Principal Floretta Plummer said she managed to provide some furniture for the 2,300-plus school population.
"There are some problems with furniture but we are working around it. We have been working to get some furniture from other schools with fewer students, and we had to pay for some tables and chairs for teachers from funds we raised during graduation," she noted.
Ministry 'Making an effort'
Yesterday, Thwaites admitted that there were some issues with the furnishing of schools.
"Many schools would wish to have new furniture, but these are not immediately available. But where acute needs exist, we are trying to make an effort," he said.
He noted that apart from those schools that were affected by Hurricane Sandy in the eastern parishes, based on his assessments two institutions, Jonathan Grant and Penwood High, were in need of immediate assistance.
Thwaites said he was informed that Penwood, in Kingston, required, furniture, while Jonathan Grant was in need of repairs and a pedestrian crossing.