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Ministry Allocates $698 Million for School Upgrading Projects


JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says $698 million is to be disbursed for infrastructure improvements at several primary and secondary schools across the island.


“We have been able to carve out of our budget funding that is now going to be able to stretch right across the island,” he informed.


“We have a programme for schools to upgrade canteens. There are resources also for information (and) communications technology (ICT) to support teaching and learning. We ask the schools to put the plans in place and make their request early, so we can prioritise and try to cover as many schools as possible,” he said.


Senator Reid was speaking during a tour of the August Town Primary School in St. Andrew on September 5.


He further informed that discussions are under way with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to provide $55 million in funding over the medium term to develop a comprehensive ICT infrastructure in primary schools.


Under this programme, the Ministry will provide laptops, projectors and WI-FI capabilities to facilitate effective teaching and learning.


As it relates to primary schools, Senator Reid noted that they have been benefiting from a $210-million maintenance programme announced earlier this year, and resources are also available to provide grants for special projects.


August Town Primary is to receive a $5-million grant for improvement works.


A similar amount was granted last year for the paving of the school grounds. The institution will continue to benefit from grant support from the Ministry over the next three years.


Auust Town Primary is the fifth school visited by the Minister since the start of the new academic year on Monday (Sept. 4).


He has already met with students and teachers at Mona Heights Primary, Half-Way-Tree Primary and New Day Primary and Junior High in St. Andrew; and Old Harbour High and Old Harbour Primary in St. Catherine.


The Minister is expected to visit the Newell High School in St. Elizabeth on September 7, where he will officially launch the 2017/18 school year.


Over the next three weeks, he will tour several schools in the Corporate Area and rural sections of the island.


CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.