Schools overcrowding reported
September 14, 1999
OVERCROWDING and a teacher shortage were reported for the opening of the new school year yesterday, a Ministry of Education official said.
According to the official, intake was too high at the Kingston Community High School (CHS), St Joseph's High School, North Georgetown Primary School and North Georgetown Secondary School, in the city.
"...it is really rough at Kingston CHS," the official told the Chronicle. The spokesperson said accommodation problems should also be expected in regions Five (Mahaica/Berbice) and Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) because of the aggressive schools rehabilitation programme undertaken nationally by the ministry.
Education Ministry administrators yesterday commenced a nationwide programme to check the number of new entrants in nursery, primary and secondary schools, which expanded this year after Dolphin CHS and Campbellville CHS in Georgetown were upgraded to junior secondary schools.
Students of the two latest secondary schools have unanimously agreed to change their school uniforms. Some 15,000 new students who recently wrote the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) entered the secondary and CHS sectors yesterday.
Figures for new students into nursery and primary schools were not available. On the issue of teacher shortage, another education official said checks yesterday revealed that several teachers were absent from a prominent secondary school in Georgetown.
"A number of teachers were absent and there were no correspondences," to justify their absence, the official said. The official believes a number of them have taken up posts in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and Botswana.
Checks on schools were ordered by Chief Education Officer, Mr. Ed Caesar to prevent further human resources problems in the sector. Among other areas, the probe team has been mandated to check staffing, including the number of educators on the job, those absent and reasons why they are away, overcrowding and adequacy of furniture for schools. The team is to report daily to Caesar and regional reports on the probe are expected today.
Meanwhile, students of St Pius Primary School, Freeman Street, Georgetown, will occupy their newly repaired and spacious building from today. The school is one of several rehabilitated this year under a multimillion dollar package undertaken by the Education Ministry. Repairs to 10 institutions under the Secondary School Reform Programme (SSRP) which is funded by the World Bank, will begin shortly.
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