Lack of manpower puts school day extension on hold

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The lack of human and financial resources has impacted the ministry’s position on the extension of the secondary level school day from the current 8 am to 1:30 pm to 8 am to 3 pm.
Director of Education Clare Browne said if the ministry were to make the change, it would have put focus on extracurricular activities for students and not the addition of more curriculum based classes.
“We have to find other things that will help them grow holistically and help them to be rounded people but we have to have the resources to do it,” Browne said.
He identified that meaningful engagement in sports, music, photography and the cultural arts would have to be incorporated into the school day.
In 2009, a comparative study was conducted by ministry officials to determine the advantages and disadvantages of a lengthened school day.
Parents, administrators, students and teachers were cross examined and the document summarised that parents would benefit mostly from peace of mind knowing their children would be supervised for longer hours.
“If it is to convert our teachers into glorified babysitters, I have a problem with it,” Browne said.
He also said he is aware of students loitering in St John’s after the school day ends but this extension would not outrightly curb this common practice.
“Parents and students come before me, and I hear they are on the street, two and three o’clock in the morning. Then what we say the Ministry of Education should extend the school day to take the students off the street? All of us have a role to play.”
The Director of Education said that if the teacher’s workload increases, the conditions of their employment would be dramatically changed and a conversation about compensation would be needed.

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