Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn said that he understands the expected public concern about the implementation of the additional school year. However, he declared that he is not going to run “under a rock” or postpone the implementation just to appease the critics.
While speaking in the Private Members section of the House of Assembly sitting, Hon. Walwyn said: “Madame Speaker you are hearing a lot of talk about the additional year in school that’s being added, and I understand yes it’s creating some consternation …”
The Minister said that changes to the school year were to be enforced years ago, but were never done by previous Ministers: “When I came in as Minister grade six was class five so the process started somewhere along in the primary schools but somebody didn’t have the guts.”
Hon. Walwyn explained that additional year is necessary, and noted that he was prepared to see it through despite the backlash: “I know that this additional year would create consternation, I knew it; so what do I do. Do I run under a rock…or do I with the advice of the people that I have around me do what’s in the best interest of the students; and do what’s in the best interest of the academic advancement of this country?” Hon. Walwyn asked.
In stating that he will not bow to the call for the implementation to be postponed Hon. Walwyn said: “We have to be more concerned about doing the job than keeping the job, and so we made some decisions Madame Speaker.”
“Since when the quality of education lies in a building, the quality of education lies in the quality of the instructors…your curriculum…So because we don’t have the classrooms we should turn back and abandon the additional year? Since when does this suggest that the project is rushed,” Hon. Walwyn declared as he maintained that the implementation was going forward.
College Adjusts to Accommodate
Meanwhile, the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College administration announced plans to slash the number of classes on the fall semester schedule in order to accommodate the Elmore Stoutt High School students that will be temporarily housed on the Paraquita Bay campus.
It was recently announced that the senior class of the Elmore Stoutt High School will be accommodated at the College’ campus because the classrooms Government hoped to build will not be ready for the start of the new school year.
In response to community concerns about how the accommodation would be arranged the College’ Registrar, Dr. Luverne Baptiste announced during the 14 June JTV Spotlight program that the institution has been planning ways and means to make the campus share seamless.
“We planned proactively and we didn’t put as many classes on the schedule for this semester upcoming, so we had spaces available in different rooms that we would be able to accommodate the students.”
“The other thing is that the majority of the [College] classes run more in the evenings from about 4:00 p.m onward and the students (ESHS) will be on campus mainly between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so during that time the number of classes that would be on would not take up the full space that’s there,” she added.
Principal of the Elmore Stoutt High School, Sandy Underhill explained that students coming from the East End area will be dropped off directly at HLSCC. Regarding students from other Districts, she noted that the school and Ministry are in the process of working out transportation and the details. However, the Principal said that the students will be gathering at ESHS at a designated area and from there buses will transport them.
“We have factored in the times as well in collaboration with HLSCC so while our day would normally start at 8:40a.m because of the transportation factor we took that into consideration and recognized that we couldn’t start the day for them before 9:00 a.m. at HLSCC,” she said.
The Principal disclosed that the school has also identified an administrator who is going to be assigned to HLSCC to ensure that ESHS standards, rules and policies are fully enforced and implemented while the students are at that campus.