The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has reported that the academic year 2019/2020 began smoothly on Monday, September 2.
During a live broadcast with ‘OPM Connect: Education Matters’ on Monday, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean provided an update.
“We are pleased to welcome back close to 500,000 students who would have been on two months’ holiday,” Dr. McLean said.
“The team at the ministry has worked exceptionally hard to address the critical matters, to ensure that we can be off to a smooth start, and the indication, so far, is that we have achieved that,” she added.
Dr. McLean also noted that the ministry will continue to monitor schools across the island this week, as many students are returning on a phased basis, with different grades on different days.
She said there were some issues during the opening of schools on Monday, and those were addressed.
“We are aware that there was industrial action by one major taxi association in Clarendon and St. Catherine. Some principals have indicated [that] they would have exercised some kind of leniency as to the students coming to school on time and would ensure they are not penalised,” Dr. McLean indicated.
“We are monitoring very closely what is going on. Regional directors in our six educational regions are monitoring closely, and as little needs arise, we will ensure that those needs are sorted out,” she added.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has invested hundreds of millions to ensure that the new academic year was off to a smooth start.
Some of the payments from the ministry included:
- Full funding for temporary and part-time teachers
- The payment for 18 temporary deans of discipline
- $327 million for the payment of 1,093 school cooks in primary schools
- $100 million for the upgrading of school canteens and provision of equipment
- $661 million for 126 schools under the 2019-2020 Critical Repairs Programme
- As well as $800 million on books for students under the National Textbook Loan Scheme and the Primary Textbook Programme.
Additionally, $120 million has been provided for PATH students’ literature books at the secondary level, $26 million for the insurance of PATH students and wards of the State, a contribution of $380 million to the transportation programme of schools in eight parishes, and book vouchers for the neediest of students to purchase school supplies.