JIS: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the United States-based charity, Christel House International (CHI), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a tuition-free school for children in St. Catherine.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on March 18, portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said that the agreement, once approved by Cabinet, will pave the way for the building of a Christel House School in Jamaica that will cater to students, aged three to 19, who are living below the poverty line.
He noted that representatives of Christel House International have been in discussion with the Ministry for some time “about adopting the concept here that they have been using in many countries. It has established schools around the world, including in the United States, India, South Africa and Mexico, through which it delivers its programmes and services”.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Government will provide a long-term lease for lands located in Spanish Town for the establishment of the institution, which will accommodate students from early childhood through to the secondary level (K to 12/13).
The Education Ministry will provide the students with the opportunity to participate in all national standardised examinations and assessments comprising the National Assessment Programme.
Christel House will construct facilities on the property at its own expense. Kindergarten to grade one will be accommodated in three classrooms comprising 20 students each. The other grades will have a capacity of 30 students per classroom and 60 students per grade level, for a total built capacity of 840 students. Construction will be phased to accommodate the school’s growth over time.
It is expected that the primary department will open no later than August 2020 and sooner, if possible, for kindergarten to grade two. An additional kindergarten class will be added with each subsequent year, until both the primary and secondary departments/campuses reach capacity.
The facilities and infrastructure of the school will be designed to satisfy the requirements established by the Ministry and any other competent authority for early-childhood institutions and independent schools.
The quality education and ancillary services provided are intended to equip the students with the knowledge and skills to become self-sufficient and productive members of the Jamaican society, in keeping with the Christel House school model.
Representative, Christel House International, Sally Porteous, who signed on behalf of the entity, said the agreement has been long in the making.
She noted that Christel House targets the poorest children, “and you change their lives and when you change their lives, you change the lives of people in the community around them”.
She said that the school will provide good nutrition, love and guidance for children in need.
“We will take these children from four years old and their nourishment will start with a hot breakfast, a hot lunch and an afternoon snack every day. They will be transported to and from school, and the emphasis is not just on education, but it is on love and caring,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Porteous told JIS News that the school will also provide a facility for students to shower and have their uniforms washed.
Christel House International is a charitable organization that works to transform the lives of impoverished children through a robust education and character-development programme.
CAPTION ONE: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (centre), hands over a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Representative, Christel House International, Sally Porteous (left), for the establishment of a Christel House School in Jamaica. The signing took place on Monday (March 18) at the Ministry's offices in Kingtson. Sharing the moment is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Grace McLean.
CAPTION TWO: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right), applauds after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a Christel House School in Jamaica, at the Ministry in Kingston on Monday (March 18). Sharing the moment is Representative, Christel House International, Sally Porteous, who signed on behalf of the entity.