JIS: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says that the Government is committed to a seven-year programme for the expansion of high-school space across the island.
He noted that while a number of institutions have been built and upgraded over the years, more places are needed to meet needs.
He was speaking to JIS News following a tour of construction projects at Nain High in St. Elizabeth and New Forest Primary and Junior High in Manchester.
Senator Reid noted that a number of primary and junior high schools in the neighbouring parishes have been upgraded to full secondary institutions, and rehabilitation work is under way at Sydney Pagon Academy in St. Elizabeth.
In Manchester, new classrooms are being added at Mount St. Joseph Catholic High, a new school will be built at Mile Gully, and Holmwood Technical High will be expanded.
Senator Reid said that the Ministry has built 69 classrooms and accompanying amenities in primary and secondary schools across the island, in order to ease overcrowding and take students off the double-shift system.
“The plan is to remove all of them (from shift) eventually,” he noted.
The Ministry is partnering with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) to build new classrooms at New Forest Primary and Nain High.
Forty-foot containers are being utilised to construct two-storey structures, which are reinforced with concrete walls, slab roofs and concrete flooring.
Nain is transitioning into a technical high school and will have new and more modern laboratories, an auditorium, a canteen and proper sports facilities.
Minister Reid said that students will have two additional years of secondary education, “so that they will be ready for a more competitive job market which now requires people with higher skill levels”.
The CMU has employed the same building technique in the construction of classrooms at Bryce Primary in Manchester and Inswood High in St. Catherine.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (left); and Regional Director, Ministry of Education's Region 5, Dr. Nadine Leachman (right), discuss the new classrooms being built at New Forest Primary and Junior High school in Manchester during a recent tour of the project site. Listening (from second left) are Project Manager, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Everold Simms; and Principal of the school, Arnaldo Allen