JIS News

Some 2,000 new school spaces will be available for the new academic year, which commences on September 7.
Director, Technical Services in the Ministry of Education, Errol Golding, made the announcement at a JIS Think Tank, on August 26.
“We have some new schools coming on stream in September. One is Belmont Academy in Westmoreland, which is a new high school with 900 spaces; and we have also completed quite a few expansions. They are Paul Bogle High in St. Thomas, which we have extended from 450 to 900 spaces; Carron Hall High School, in St. Mary, which we have expanded from 450 to 900 spaces, and also Lewisville High School, in St. Elizabeth, which has been expanded from 450 to 900 spaces,” he pointed out.
“These expansions are completed and the facilities are ready and will be opening for the new school year. Springfield Primary in Westmoreland, which is a replacement primary school, will also be ready for September,” Mr. Golding added.
According to the Director, preparations for the new school year are far advanced and funds have been disbursed to schools to assist with any minor work needed.
“As far as the maintenance of schools and repairs are concerned, we are really far ahead in getting the schools prepared for the new school year. Maintenance is done on a regular basis throughout the year, so that at the beginning of the school term, it is not necessary for us to get so much done, because maintenance is ongoing,” he noted, adding that the funds for maintenance grants have been sent to the schools.
“Those funds are normally used for cleaning of the compound, doing minor repairs to sanitation and water supplies. We have some other funds which will be going out to the Regional Directors in each region that they will use for minor repairs. The funds we send to the schools might not be able to complete all of what needs to be done, so they can then apply to the Regional Offices for additional funds,” the Director informed.
Some $96 million is available to all Regions, with Region 6, the largest Region covering St. Catherine and Clarendon, getting a chunk of that figure.
As it relates to furniture, Mr. Golding pointed out that items are being manufactured and deliveries are taking place islandwide.
“Furniture is being manufactured now. We have some in storage and we have been delivering furniture since June. It’s an ongoing situation. We won’t be able to satisfy all the needs, but we are pretty certain we will be able to do the best we can with the resources that are available. At the moment, we are also delivering science equipment for physics, chemistry and biology labs to high schools throughout the island. This is an ongoing process and we are actually delivering to the last set of schools, which is about 26 high schools,” he said.
The Director explained that repairs to the schools damaged by Tropical Storm Gustav should be completed by April 2010.
“We have some challenges as it relates to the repairs from damage done by Tropical Storm Gustav. [Repairs to] most of the schools would have started by now, but the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has advised us to include not just the repairs for damage caused by Gustav, but other repairs that may be needed within that particular school,” he informed.
“So, we have to be doing some form of re-scoping, but those repairs will not affect the re-opening of the schools. The re-scoping should be completed by some time in September, because in that programme all the work must be completed by March or April of next year,” he emphasised.

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