GLEANER: The parish of St Ann has been identified as the area most urgently in need of additional schools as the Ministry of Education makes plans to build five additional schools throughout the island over the next three years.
Education Minister Ruel Reid, in an interview with The Gleaner, said that quick infrastructural development is needed in a number of schools, noting that Old Harbour in St Catherine, Manchester, and St James are additional areas that are high on the agenda.
"We will also have to target St Ann, specifically the north-west area. That whole Ocho Rios area has some constraints, for example, Ocho Rios (High School) is on shift, in addition to the Marcus Garvey (High School) and Brown's Town High School. One of the problems, of course, is that the population is shifting and people are going into the Ocho Rios, St Ann area, so there's really a serious shortage in that area," he said.
Stressing the ministry's commitment to having 100 per cent placement of all students in full high schools next year, he said the expansion would go a far way in eradicating shift systems.
"Of course, in St James, we'll need another school. This is to ameliorate the crisis that we currently have, particularly as it relates to taking the schools off shift. We are proud of the fact, however, that next year, we will be able to have all students in a full high-school programme. This year is the first that we have been able to place 99 per cent of our students in a full high-school programme, next year, we will be able to do 100 per cent," Reid told The Gleaner.
CAPTION: Minister of Education Ruel Reid