LACOVIA, St Elizabeth — Minister of Education Fayval Williams says plans are in place for the removal of Lacovia High from the shift system following an appeal from Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Western JC Hutchinson that the rural school be prioritised for expansion.
“The team from the ministry, through the National Education Trust, has done the inspection of the property, they have done the scoping, they have requested funding for the preliminary design. And once that is done we will move towards getting the approval for the designs and working it through the process,” she said while addressing a handover ceremony of two Coaster buses donated by the Government of Japan to Lacovia High last Friday.
Her comments were in response to an appeal by Hutchison for the school, with a population of 1,275 students, to be removed from the shift system quickly.
“I am here begging the minister of education, and she knows that Lacovia needs to come off of the shift system… as quickly as possible. I know she is working on it but I am going to be like a tick to make sure that Lacovia comes off of the shift system,” he declared.
Hutchinson added that lands have already been made available for the construction of more classrooms at Lacovia High.
“To come off the shift system we need extra classrooms, so that is what I am asking for… We can’t come off unless we have the extra classrooms, and the land has been identified already so it is just for the ministry to put things in place… ” he shared.
Williams, in response to Hutchinson’s appeal, outlined that various facilities are to be built at Lacovia High.
“What is in the scope right now is 16 classrooms, staffroom, bathroom, science lab and dining area, so I promise you that we will move it through the process as quickly as we can,” she said.
She added that removing schools from the shift system is important to minimise disadvantages faced by students and staff.
“All the shift schools across Jamaica have priority to come off the shift system because we know the disadvantage of the shift school. Children who are coming in first in the morning, you have to get here way early; and children who are leaving on the second shift, they leave here way late. And we know the burden on the school system, the principals, the teachers, so we do want to get these schools off of shift,” she added.
Williams said she is updated weekly as to progress being made with maintenance and large projects at schools.
She added that a survey is to be done of the land where additional facilities are to be built at Lacovia High.
“I know in the early part of it you won’t see anything happening because they [surveyors] have to come, they have to do the survey of the land, they have to get all the approvals [and] the designs… But once we go through that process you will begin to see the build-out of the school….” assured Williams.