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Education ministry to implement initiatives for new school year

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Outlining the state of readiness of the education system for the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, yesterday at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites announced the following initiatives to be implemented across the six regions:

- Auxiliary fee provision for PATH students to be increased from $2,000 to $3,000

- Approximately $800 million worth of books being delivered to schools will be completed by September 14

- 20 schools to be removed immediately from the shift system. A further 12 targeted for removal during the academic year. The remaining 48 schools to be removed by 2017.

- $5 million to purchase 200 water tanks to be installed at schools affected by water shortage. National Water Commission to truck water to those accessible. A further 100 schools are still in need of water tanks

- $47 million allocated to the six Ministry of Education Regional offices to carry out critical repairs to approximately 100 schools

- Approximately $4.5 billion to be spent to provide free breakfast and lunch for more than 130,000 early-childhood students, and to extend lunch programme in primary and secondary schools to five days per week.

- Approximately $650 million to be uploaded to school accounts by second week in September to begin preparation of these meals on-site

- Approximately $1.2 billion to be uploaded to school accounts in early September to provide lunch for 192,000 PATH beneficiaries from grades 4-13.

- 40,000 pieces of new and refurbished furniture will be delivered to schools in need by end of September

- $1.2 billion in school fees and other grants disbursed to schools

- Transport operators contracted to facilitate the movement of students relocated from closed schools.

- Jamaica Foundation For Lifelong Learning to work with church-owned facilities to turn closed schools into adult learning centres

- Approximately 1,000 students have so far registered to start on September 14 at the combined Charlie Smith/Trench Town High schools (at Charlie Smith's location). Each student to be provided with a tablet

- The Trench Town Polytechnic College (at Trench Town High's location) to commence operations by end of September

- New classrooms, auditoriums and/or administrative areas to be completed between September and October at: Vauxhall High, Charlie Smith High, Fidel Castro Campus at Anchovy High, Tacky High, Belair High, Mount St Joseph High, BB Coke High and Roger Clarke High.

- 28 schools identified for modification or renovation to create infant departments.

- 30 new early-childhood institutions to be built, in partnership with CHASE and Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). JSIF to renovate five primary schools

- $233 million allocated for the removal of pit latrines at 76 schools, being done in partnership with JSIF and Food For The Poor.

- Behaviour Management Programme in place for more than 200 schools, with another 200 to be added during school year.