(Jamaica Observer) KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information expects a smooth start to the upcoming academic year 2019/2020 on Monday, September 2.
At the Ministry’s annual back-to-school press conference, held at its National Heroes Circle office, today (August 29), Minister with responsibility, Karl Samuda, said the Ministry has invested millions in various aspects of the education sector for schools and students to benefit.
“As part of our general preparations, we have undertaken a number of things… selected schools are being renovated [and] all is being done to meet the great demand that is placed on us at this time,” the Minister said.
Some of the payments from the Ministry towards activities for the new school year include 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, and $661 million for 126 schools under the 2019-2020 Critical Repairs Programme, Samuda said.
Also provided are $120 million 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.
Additionally, the Ministry has spent $800 million on books for students under the National Textbook Loan Scheme and the Primary Textbook Programme.
The delivery of books to schools has started and should be completed by October 2019. All books for the first term will be delivered by September 2.
With regard to the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations, Samuda noted that resource materials to support the grade-six classes are being distributed to schools.
He also said that the Ministry is putting plans in place to ensure that schools located in areas that are affected by the drought have adequate water supply.
“A survey is now under way to identify the schools across the island which are being affected by water lock-offs. We already know the schools in the Corporate Area that are affected and are taking all appropriate measures to ensure that their facilities are brought up to scratch and that water will be provided,” he said.