Black River High School in St Elizabeth will be taken off the shift system for the upcoming school year, which begins in September 2023.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, provided an update on the sector during yesterday’s (May 31) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House in St Andrew.
She said the Ministry will continue to work to build more classrooms, so that all schools that are on the shift system can be taken off.
“I inherited 30 schools that are on the shift system, and we have set about ensuring that we get the adequate budgetary allocation to create additional classrooms, so that in time we can take all those 30 schools or so off the shift system,” she said.
Minister Williams explained that the shift system was established to accommodate as many children as possible in schools.
“We have found out over the years that, yes, while that was a temporary situation, we ought to get all of our schools off the shift system,” she argued.
School infrastructures to be upgraded
Meanwhile, she informed that J$440 million has been budgeted to carry out critical maintenance and infrastructure work in schools this fiscal year. She noted that J$244 million will be spent to undertake electrical upgrade works in 49 schools, adding that security fencing projects will be done at 56 schools.
The Minister pointed out that over the last fiscal year, J$305 million was spent to carry out critical maintenance and infrastructure work in 130 schools.
“I am also pleased [with] the work that the Ministry has been doing coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. We took a real focus on schools’ infrastructure, particularly critical maintenance and infrastructure work,” she said.
Additionally, Minister Williams announced that all computer labs in high schools have been outfitted with brand-new laptops.
“In the years ahead, our students will be required to use the computers for e-testing. CXC has indicated that this is where they are moving, so CSEC and CAPE exams and others will be done online, so we have to get our schools prepared. We have to get our students prepared for it as well,” she said.