- A sum of $160.5 million has been allocated to carry out expansion and rehabilitation works at nine schools in rural Jamaica.
- Funding is being provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), under the Community Investment Project, with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) as the implementing agency.
- For her part, Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said increased focus has also been placed on early childhood institutions.
A sum of $160.5 million has been allocated to carry out expansion and rehabilitation works at nine schools in rural Jamaica, ahead of the 2014/15 academic year, which begins in September.
The schools are: the Clarence Brimm, Dutch Hill, Ulster Spring and Raymoth Notice Basic in Trelawny; Austin Primary, Bethlehem All Age, and Aberdeen Primary and Junior High in St. Elizabeth; Glendevon Primary and Junior High in St. James; and the May Pen School of Special Education for Children with Intellectual Disabilities, in Clarendon.
Funding is being provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), under the Community Investment Project, with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) as the implementing agency.
Addressing the contract signing ceremony on Friday, July 25, at the Ministry of Education’s Heroes Circle offices, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the project is of great significance, as it highlights the Government’s commitment to rural development.
“This is consistent with State policy reflected in the Ministry of Education, that our rural institutions must get priority. We want to stop the migration. It is very important that you don’t have to travel multiple kilometres to find a good school for your children,” Rev. Thwaites said.
For her part, Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said increased focus has also been placed on early childhood institutions. She informed that in the case of these schools, special effort has been made to introduce age appropriate facilities and furniture for the students.
She also implored the contractors to make good use of the summer holiday period to ensure that the students are not disrupted when they return to school in September.
Meanwhile, General Manager, Civil Works/Infrastructure at JSIF, Andrew Neita, informed that community members will be contributing close to $24 million in total in cash and kind to the overall project.
“JSIF’s approach to development is a community-centred one. This increases their buy-in into the project and augurs well for the maintenance and sustainability of the new infrastructure,” he said.
Principal, Aberdeen Primary and Junior High School, Milbert Miller, who spoke on behalf of the institutions, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for the “major investment.”
“On September morning when the students approach our institutions, they will breathe a new breath of freshness, because they will be seeing that long awaited change in their classroom environment,” he said.
Member of Parliament for South Trelawny, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, also expressed gratitude on behalf of her constituents, noting that the works will go a far way in improving the lives of the students.
The works, which will be carried out over a period of four months across the schools, include the construction of new sanitary facilities to replace pit latrines or upgraded sewerage facilities, expansion of classrooms and extensive renovation of the school buildings, and in one instance, a completely new school.
Other infrastructural works include the upgrading of play areas, the construction of perimeter fencing, the removal of partitions for classrooms and extensive electrical installations.
Construction will be carried out by nine contractors. These are: Ricam Construction; Another Star is Born Construction Company; N.F. Barnes Construction and Equipment Company; Patrick Thompson Limited; Maxwell Construction Company; Bajad Limited; M.A.E Construction Company; Melody Heavy Equipment and Construction Limited; and Chin’s Equipment Rental and Construction Company.