Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education, today named 18 schools that will not re-open at the start of the new school year in September. This is a cost cutting measure that has claimed schools from several parishes. The students from these schools have been placed in other schools.
The education minister said that in order to ensure a smooth transition, the ministry’s regional staff will work closely with the staff of the receiving schools. One thing is uncertain. What about the displaced teachers? Will they also be placed in other schools?
The list of schools include one from our lovely parish. Alps Primary and Infant, located in Southern Trelawny, will be closed in September.
Primary Schools are conveniently located all over the island to minimize the distance students have to travel to school. However, over the years, some schools have become a burden for the government to maintain, due to their dwindling population.
Alps Primary and Infant is one such example. The school’s last enrollment figures showed only 56 students on roll and 3 teachers, including the principal. This is according to data from the education ministry’s Region Three office in Brown’s Town, St Ann.
Instead, Alps campus is being targeted by Member of Parliament for Southern Trelawny, Marissa Dalrymple-Phillibert, as a skills training center. She claimed to be the one who brought the idea to the education minister.
“I said to myself, why don’t we open a new campus of the edu-skills centre [that was started at the Albert Town community centre] to teach young people about farming and other disciplines, and I thought, Ia wonder if the minister would lease me this school, so that we could open a facility to teach the young boys that farming is not something dirty and is the way forward,” said Dalrymple-Phillibert during the launch of the Ira V Brooks Memorial Foundation for Education.
In addition, the decision to close the Alps Primary and Infant school was conveyed to parents earlier this year, so it does not come as a shock.
The list of schools are as follows:
- Alps Primary & Junior High – Southern Trelawny
- Auchtembeddie Primary and Junior High – Manchester North Western
- Bowden Hill Primary – West Rural St Andrew
- Mount James All Age – West Rural St Andrew
- Clifton Primary – East Rural St Andrew
- Tower Hill Primary – East Rural St Andrew
- Brittonvale Primary – South Eastern St Ann
- Clydesdale Primary – South Eastern St Ann
- Jefferyville Primary – South Eastern St Ann
- Watsonville Primary – South Eastern St Ann
- Belvedere Primary – Western Portland
- Black Hill All Age – Western Portland
- Preston Hill Primary – Central St Mary
- Rose Bank Primary – Central St Mary
- Pear Tree River Primary – Eastern St Thomas
- Hillsbrook Primary – Hanover Eastern
- Hopeton Primary – St Elizabeth South Eastern
- Hartlands Primary – St Catherine Central