Education Ministry Expects Smooth Start to New School Year

Story Highlights At the Ministry’s annual back-to-school press conference, held at its National Heroes Circle office, on Thursday (August 29), Minister with responsibility, Hon. Karl Samuda, said the Ministry has invested millions in various aspects of the education sector for schools and students to benefit. “As part of our general preparations, we have undertaken a number of things… selected schools are being renovated [and] all is being done to meet the great demand that is placed on us at this time,” the Minister said. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information expects a smooth start to the upcoming academic year 2019/2020 on Monday, September 2.At the Ministry’s annual back-to-school press conference, held at its National Heroes Circle office, on Thursday (August 29), Minister with responsibility, Hon. Karl Samuda, said the Ministry has invested millions in various aspects of the education sector for schools and students to benefit.“As part of our general preparations, we have undertaken a number of things… selected schools are being renovated [and] all is being done to meet the great demand that is placed on us at this time,” the Minister said.Some of the payments from the Ministry towards activities for the new school year include full funding for temporary and part-time teachers, the payment for 18 temporary deans of discipline, $327 million for the payment of 1,093 school cooks in primary schools, $100 million for the upgrading of school canteens and provision of equipment, and $661 million for 126 schools under the 2019-2020 Critical Repairs Programme.Also provided are $120 million for PATH students’ literature books at the secondary level, $26 million for the insurance of PATH students and wards of the State, a contribution of $380 million to the transportation programme of schools in eight parishes, and book vouchers for the neediest of students to purchase school supplies.Additionally, the Ministry has spent $800 million on books for students under the National Textbook Loan Scheme and the Primary Textbook Programme.The delivery of books to schools has started and should be completed by October 2019. All books for the first term will be delivered by September 2.With regard to the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations, Mr. Samuda noted that resource materials to support the grade-six classes are being distributed to schools.He also noted that the Ministry is putting plans in place to ensure that schools located in areas that are affected by the drought have adequate water supply.“A survey is now under way to identify the schools across the island which are being affected by water lock-offs. We already know the schools in the Corporate Area that are affected and are taking all appropriate measures to ensure that their facilities are brought up to scratch and that water will be provided,” he said. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information expects a smooth start to the upcoming academic year 2019/2020 on Monday, September 2. read more

May Pen Hospital Gets CArm Machine

Story Highlights Under the new partnership, Dr. Tufton said patients will be sent to private facilities that offer these tests, at no cost to them. This should address some of the obvious anomalies in the system. The machine will enable the orthopaedic team at the hospital to expand the delivery of service to more than 300,000 people in Clarendon and the bordering communities of Southwest St. Catherine and Southeast Manchester. “The C-Arm is an essential part of the contemporary practice of orthopaedic surgery, with its use being standard of care in performing a majority of surgeries. The benefits of its use include reduced morbidity to patients, reduced time loss from work, reduced need for transfer and referral of patients, and a reduction in surgical waiting time for emergency or elective procedures,” the Consultant said. The May Pen Hospital in Clarendon has received a Digital Mobile C-Arm machine worth $10 million, through grant funding from the Japanese government under the Grass-roots Human Security Project.The machine will enable the orthopaedic team at the hospital to expand the delivery of service to more than 300,000 people in Clarendon and the bordering communities of Southwest St. Catherine and Southeast Manchester.A C-arm is an imaging scanner intensifier. C-arms have radiographic capabilities, though they are used primarily for fluoroscopic intraoperative imaging during surgical, orthopaedic and emergency-care procedures.Speaking at the handover ceremony on August 5, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the Ministry is about to intervene, with the help of external partners, to assist the thousands of Jamaicans who have little or no access to expensive tests such as CT scans.“Later this month we will provide details of an arrangement that will see us having agreements with external providers where the equipment is not available in public hospitals. What Jamaicans will get is a piece of paper that says go do the tests and return and you won’t have to pay,” he said.Under the new partnership, Dr. Tufton said patients will be sent to private facilities that offer these tests, at no cost to them. This should address some of the obvious anomalies in the system.He noted, however, that the move is not meant to eliminate the need to have equipment in public hospitals and that he is currently looking at the state of equipment across the entire public health system.Dr. Tufton said far too many Jamaicans turn up at public hospitals for CT scans and there is either no machine or it is not working.For his part, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Jamaica, Shotoku Habukawa, said that with the C-Arm machine at the hospital, they would no longer need to transfer patients to Mandeville Regional or Kingston Public hospitals for emergency surgery.Meanwhile, Orthopaedic Consultant at the May Pen Hospital, Dr. Safiya Franklin, expressed gratitude for the machine.“The C-Arm is an essential part of the contemporary practice of orthopaedic surgery, with its use being standard of care in performing a majority of surgeries. The benefits of its use include reduced morbidity to patients, reduced time loss from work, reduced need for transfer and referral of patients, and a reduction in surgical waiting time for emergency or elective procedures,” the Consultant said. read more