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State Minister Calls for Partnerships to Upgrade Early-Childhood Institutions


JIS: State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is calling for increased partnerships for the upgrading of the country’s early-childhood institutions.


“Since we all know that if we don’t get it right at the start we will have to play catch-up, shouldn’t we be coalescing and getting partnership, resources at the earliest stage?,” he asked.


“In fact, if we are going to look at cutting-edge institutions, shouldn’t it be that when we walk into our infant schools, we feel that we have been teleported into the First World?” he noted.


Mr. Green was addressing a ceremony for the official handover of the upgraded Middlesex Infant School in Holland, St. Elizabeth, on Wednesday (September 26).


The project, undertaken by J. Wray & Nephew (JWN) Foundation at a cost of $30 million, has transformed the institution into a state-of-the-art facility, creating a more comfortable and spacious teaching and learning environment.


It boasts a multipurpose parenting zone, a bio-based courtyard, play area, sickbay, auditorium, vegetable garden, new restrooms, an equipped computer laboratory and expanded classroom blocks.


The multipurpose parenting zone will also serve as a skills training centre for parents.


The expansion will result in the infant school, which accommodates some 53 students, gaining certification from the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).


Mr. Green commended JWN for undertaking the project. He said that quality education must be made available to every child regardless of their socio-economic background, and to achieve this, early-childhood spaces need to be transformed and modernised.


“The reality is, only education works; only that is sustainable, and I can speak passionately about it, as it is especially true for rural Jamaica. Our mission must be to ensure that no matter where you are born in Jamaica, no matter your income or social class, you have access to quality education, and the only way we can do that, quite frankly, is through partnership,” he added.


Chairman of the JWN Foundation, Clement “Jimmy’ Lawrence, said the organisation is proud of the investment, which he noted, will offer a “strong foundation in early-childhood development”.


He said Middlesex Infant School is now a “world-class facility” that will create “new realities for the students”.


“This facility is world class not because of a significant capital investment of $30 million. It is world class because of the dreams it will help to craft and the confidence and positive influence it will inculcate in the children under its care,” he said.


Middlesex Infant School Board chairman, Andrew Morris, expressed gratitude to JWN Foundation and assured that all will be done to maintain the facilities provided.


The renovation was carried out over eight weeks in July and August this year.


CAPTION: The newly renovated Middlesex Infant School in Holland Bamboo, St. Elizabeth, which was officially handed over to school administrators, at a ceremony on Wednesday (September 26). The school was upgraded by J Wray & Nephew Foundation at a cost of $30 million.