Public schools again disrupted by industrial action

Principal of Spanish Town Primary Marva Guest and Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid


Despite instructions from the Minister of Education that all public schools be kept open on Tuesday, a significant number are closed due to the industrial action by teachers.

The teachers are in the second day of protest in their wage dispute with the government. They have opted to go on work-to-rule, a sick-out, sit-in or strike to register their dissatisfaction.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Education said it would deploy additional personnel to support schools.

However, fewer students were sent out by their parents today.

In some cases, such as at Servite Primary School in St. Ann, there a was 100 per cent turnout of  teachers but few students. The nearby Brown's Town Primary school was closed.

In St. James, Cornwall College advised that there would be no class on Tuesday.

A check at some schools in St. Elizabeth revealed that classes were suspended due to the absence of  teachers. At others, a few students turned up, but there was no teaching.

For those primary schools that were open, attention was given to students preparing for the Grade Four Literacy and Numeracy tests and the Grade Six Achievement Test.

Marva Guest, Principal of Spanish Town Primary, St. Catherine, said she had more teachers than students at her institution.

Ms Guest believes that students stayed away as they were mostly supervised by prefects on Monday and parents were concerned about their safety.

She is encouraging GSAT students to come out for the previously scheduled revision session on Wednesday.

Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid, who was speaking on TVJ's Smile Jamaica Tuesday morning, said despite concern from some parents about the timing of the industrial action with the holding of the Grade Six Achievement Test, the examination will not be rescheduled.
The Education Ministry said it has expanded its contingency plans with all officers and volunteers out in the field, providing support for schools.  
Four tertiary institutions: Catholic College of Mandeville, Northern Caribbean University, Caribbean Maritime University and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College have deployed student teachers to provide additional coverage.



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