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Schools face hiccups - Institutions worry over grants, while others still closed for repairs

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

At least three schools remained closed yesterday at the beginning of the new academic term, as a result of delays in the completion-of-repairs exercises.

Education Minister Andrew Holness, in an interview with The Gleaner, confirmed the delays.

Director of communications at the Ministry of Education, Colin Blair, said while some schools postponed the opening of the facilities to accommodate special meetings, a few were carrying out necessary repairs that were not completed over the Christmas break.

St Ann's Bay Infant and Lime Hall Primary in St Ann, along with Skibo Primary in Portland, are among the schools that will not reopen as necessary repairs at the schools were not completed.

However, Blair declared that Skibo would resume today and the others next Monday.

Smooth start

In the meantime, Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) President Michael Stewart said most schools were off to a smooth start. The JTA president did, however, raise concerns about a number of schools which had to reopen without receiving regular grants from the Ministry of Education.

"This is money that we would normally receive at the beginning of the school term, but the principals had to start with the little that they have," he said.

The JTA president said in the absence of the funds from the Government, items such as toilet paper and soap had to be sourced elsewhere in order to facilitate a smooth start.

"The creditors are good to the schools and the principals are very creative, so they don't allow things like these to affect the reopening of schools," Stewart said.

The Ministry of Education has dismissed the claims, saying that the cheques were disbursed to the regional offices for the schools to collect.