Parish Councils Urged to Work Closer With Schools


Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has urged Parish Councils across the island to play a greater role in facilitating the delivery of quality education.
Speaking at the official handing over of a new block of classrooms at the Braeton Primary and Junior High School in Portmore, St. Catherine, on March 19, Mr. Holness said there should be greater interaction between the councils and schools in the effort to meet some of their needs at the local level, instead of always from Central Government.
“They have a local governance duty to work with the school Boards, Principals and the Education Officers to ensure that the quality of output from the schools are constantly being improved, and they should act as an intermediary between the community and schools,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that he would also be working to ensure that schools can mobilize resources from the community.
Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds said the Minister’s suggestion was a forward thinking one, one which he would be examining closely. He urged that other councils would examine it also.
“We have a good relationship with the principals in the community. Schools are operated between early morning and late afternoon, then you close up and go home. Right now it might be space for some colleges to use, and the schools could get funding from that, and not depend on the Ministries of Education or Finance,” he said.
Member of Parliament for the area, Fitz Jackson, has committed a sum of $2 million toward the building of a staff room at the school. The money, he noted, would be taken from his Constituency Development Fund, which he would receive during the 2008/09 fiscal year.
“That is a minimum to start with, as the full costing has not been determined. I believe that a proper working environment is critical to quality output and I would like to see the facilities improved for the teachers,” he said.
The school’s expansion programme was undertaken under the Government’s ‘Critically Needed School Space Programme’, in collaboration with the Reform Of Secondary Education (ROSE 2) Project.

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