The shift school system is expected to come to an end as early as September. This is one of the priorities that was announced by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
As a result of the horrendous damages that were caused to the public high schools as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 the Ministry of Education as a means of returning students to school implemented a shift system. The initiative commenced on 6 November 2017 for primary school students in grades 1 to 6 and junior school students in grades 7 to 9. However, with the reopening and repairing of various primary schools the system is mainly operational in the public high school.
To date the shift sees students attending sessions between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the designated education institutions.
However, the Premier while speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio program on 19 March said that he is not happy that the situation is still ongoing and said that efforts are being made to get the students to full day sessions at both the Bregado Flax Educational Centre and the Elmore Stoutt High School.
As it relates to the Elmore Stoutt High School Hon. Fahie said that the plan is to push ahead with the repairs to the L-Shaped building which was an initiative of the previous administration.
The Premier announced that his government is looking to fast track the plan: “We are trying to get the L-shaped building for the Elmore Stoutt High School fixed and ready for September; rather than next year so we are going to have to do some adjustments to get that done.”
In stressing his unhappiness with the present shift situation Hon. Fahie said: “One of our pet peeves is having these children on the road and having them go to school half day; and then telling us that they are learning as much as someone going the whole day. And to get our children as well as the teachers from the deplorable state that they are in, in terms of the Elmore Stoutt High School.”
As it relates to getting the L-shaped building functional the Premier noted that the preparations he is mentioning are just repairs. “That’s just a repair, but it’s a major repair in that it would take the burden off of both senior and junior going to school and both going half day. What that will allow now is for one of them to be where they are now and for the other one to be where the L-shaped building is. So that all of them can go to school whole day now without overcrowding the existing area. The long term plan for the campus is also something being dealt with behind closed doors right now.”
It was noted that the previous timeline for the L-shaped building was January 2020 but the new government is endeavoring to accelerate for the new school term. “We are pushing for September. We have instructed the person in finance what to do to adjust what they are doing to make it happen for September.”