Thwaites Defends School Zoning Policy


Education Minister, Ronnie Thwaites, is defending the Government’s decision to implement a policy which will see thousands of children who sit this year’s GSAT exams being placed according to where they live.

Minister Thwaites says up to 20 percent of the students who sit GSAT could be affected.

Students who sit the GSAT have the option of stating which high schools they would like to attend — whether it’s close to their homes or not.

If they do well enough on the tests, they may attend any of the schools of their choice — if there’s space to accommodate them.

But this year, the Education Minister, says he wants to add geography as an important factor in deciding how students are placed.

According to Ronnie Thwaites, the new policy will see more students being placed at schools that are close to their homes.

He says up to 20 percent of this year’s GSAT cohort — or about 8-thousand students — could be affected by his new policy.

Minister Thwaites says there are other reasons which have guided the policy shift.

But the Opposition doesn’t like the government’s new policy.

Its Spokesman on Education, Kamina Johnson Smith, says the education system isn’t prepared for placing students in high schools based on geography.

Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.