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Minister Reiterates Commitment to Take Schools off Shift System


JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, has reiterated that urgent steps are being taken by the Government to get schools across Jamaica, such as the St. James High School in Montego Bay, off the two-shift system.


Speaking at a ceremony to mark the official opening of a new three-storey block of classrooms at the St. James High School on January 30, Mr. Reid said he is proud that despite the double-shift system, the institution has been performing extremely well.


“I am in a hurry under my shift, to fix all of these problems. Yes, I have 42 schools still on shift and, systematically, we are going to take them off one by one,” the Minister said.


Senator Reid noted that the Ministry responded quickly when St. James High requested financial support for additional classroom spaces and for the construction of a perimeter wall.


“This will help to prepare in the transition process to a single-shift system. It is important that we do so, because we are not doing so for ourselves, we are doing it for the future and for the transformation of St. James,” the Minister said.


Meanwhile, Senator Reid said the Ministry will be constructing five new high schools across the island, one of which will be in St. James, which will add significantly to the number of classroom spaces available in western Jamaica.


“We have a lot of work to do, but, under God, we are going to get it done. I am getting full support, and I have the fiscal space to get it done,” he said.


The Minister also visited Anchovy High School in St. James, and the Knockalva Agricultural School and the Knockalva Technical High School in neighbouring Hanover.


Mr. Reid told JIS News that he was happy to have visited the institutions to get a first-hand look at their operations and make assessments and recommendations.


“My tour has been extremely successful, and I am very happy to be able to get out of the office to see exactly what is happening in these institutions and to give some policy direction,” he added.


CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (third left), is assisted by Principal of the Mt. Alvernia High School, Stacey Reynolds (second left), to cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of a new block of classrooms at the St. James High School on Tuesday, January 30. Sharing the moment are Director of Region Four, Dr. Michelle Pinnock (left); Principal of the school, Joseph Williams (right); Chairman of the school Board, Reverend Alton Thelwell (second right); and students of the institution.