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STATEMENT REGARDING SHIFT SYSTEM IN SCHOOLS

STATEMENT REGARDING SHIFT SYSTEM IN SCHOOLS

There has been much public debate regarding the school shift system, especially since the matter was again raised in the recent budget debate.

When Dr. Phillips drew notice that the government has not advanced the transfer of any additional schools from the shift system, he was factual and consistent with the information available. Those that were removed such as NORMAN MANLEY were indeed a continuation of those previously scheduled by the previous PNP administration and therefore no new ones were added since the JLP took office.

1. The Norman Manley High School which had been announced to be off the shift system is still awaiting the completion of the construction of the additional class rooms promised to accommodate the change. Of the eight (8) additional class rooms identified for Norman Manley, only four (4) are currently available to the school and there is no indication of when the others will come on stream.

In addition, there is no indication in the present budget allocation to indicate that the Govt intends to pursue a robust transformation of schools from the shift system. The government, therefore, needs to tell the public whether it intends to funds the continuation the program normalization of the schools from the shift system.

As the Opposition Spokesman on Education, I would like to highlight the following:
1. Peter Phillips was correct in his Budget address that in their first year this Administration has not advanced the reduction of schools on shift.

2. Those schools taken off the shift system and mentioned by Audley Shaw in closing the Budget debate were planned and initiated by the PNP Administration before leaving office.

3. The PNP government broke new and decisive ground in bringing the shift system to an end. At that time thirty-two (32) schools were removed and/or prepared for removal from shift during the 2015-2016 school year.

3a. Most of the remainder were planned to revert to full day school during 2017-2018.

4. The funding and construction of classrooms at Norman Manley High were initiated during Dr. Phillips’ time as Minister of Finance.

5. As in most other areas of national life, this Government tries to attribute to themselves what was the endeavour of others.

The Opposition calls on the Government not to slow down the process of giving every student the opportunity of a full day at school.