JIS: The Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon is the latest institution to be taken off the shift system by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
This follows the addition of 12 new classrooms under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, in his remarks at the official handover ceremony on Thursday (September 13), informed that the nearby May Pen Primary School is next in line to be removed from shift.
He noted that infrastructure is needed to accommodate at least 1,500 students.
“It (May Pen Primary) is one of the largest primary schools in the Caribbean. Already, my technical officers are in the field doing the verification, so that we can plan for that expansion and development,” he informed.
He gave the Government’s commitment to enable the transition of all schools to full day institutions.
“We still have primary and high schools that are on shift… so we have some urgency in which to expand our capacity to ensure everybody has an equal opportunity to attend school at the regular time and get the benefit of a full day programme,” Mr. Reid said.
Mr. Sweeney, in his remarks, said that JSIF is committed to the advancement of education in Jamaica.
“In our 21 years at JSIF, education has been the key aspect of our investment in communities. In excess of 40 per cent of all the funds we’ve received have been invested in education, and that is estimated to be close to $8 billion to date,” he pointed out.
Principal of Mineral Heights Primary, Lanzeford Howell, expressed gratitude for the new classrooms.
“Our students are now able to benefit from a whole-day education that provides them with the enriched activities that children are supposed to benefit from in primary school,” he said.
He noted that teachers can now focus more on enriching the lives of students.
“We are in the era of promoting learning, critical thinking, and this facility that JSIF has contributed to the school will help us in terms of getting our children to function as 21st century learners,” Mr. Howell added.
Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the BNTF makes provision for projects geared towards improvement in education, transportation, enterprise development, water and sanitation services in member countries across the region.
Ten primary schools in seven parishes have benefited from upgrading through the BNTF at a cost of $642,497,824.28. From this investment, five of the 10 schools were able to transition from the shift system to full day school.
In total, 82 new classrooms were constructed or rehabilitated with bathrooms and ramps for disabled students to access. Approximately 10,396 students and 313 teachers have benefited.
The project includes improving the security at the schools through erecting perimeter fencing.
Also at the handover ceremony were Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon, Hon. Mike Henry; and Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South East, Hon. Rudyard Spencer.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right), enteracts with students at Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon after a ceremony on Thursday (September 13) to officially hand over 12 new classrooms. Looking on (from left) are Principal of the school, Lanzeford Howell; and Managing Director, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney. The new clarooms have facilitated the transition of the school from the shift system.