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Story Highlights

  • The Government has spent approximately $347 million, since January, to develop over 2,000 additional classrooms at secondary schools in Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, made the disclosure in Manchester on Friday, November 27, where she opened newly constructed facilities at McIntosh Memorial and Zion Hill primary schools.
  • Institutions that have benefitted from the support are the formerly privately-run Belair High School, and Mount St. Joseph’s Academy in Manchester, and the B.B. Coke and Roger Clarke high schools in St. Elizabeth.

The Government has spent approximately $347 million, since January, to develop over 2,000 additional classrooms at secondary schools in Manchester and St. Elizabeth.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, made the disclosure in Manchester on Friday, November 27, where she opened newly constructed facilities at McIntosh Memorial and Zion Hill primary schools, and signed contracts to undertake expansion and rehabilitation works at Mandeville Primary and Junior High.

Institutions that have benefitted from the support are the formerly privately-run Belair High School, and Mount St. Joseph’s Academy in Manchester, and the B.B. Coke and Roger Clarke high schools in St. Elizabeth.

Approximately $200 million was spent to upgrade facilities at Belair and Mount St. Joseph’s. Each institution now has an additional 1,000 classrooms. The projects involved partnership with the private sector.

The Prime Minister advised that classroom expansion at B.B. Coke and Roger Clarke high schools “are nearing completion.”

She said the administration is undertaking these “major financial investments,” because “we regard education as the foundation for the social and economic growth of our country, and for the prosperity of our people.”

“Making adequate classroom space available is vital for providing our young people with a good education,” she added.

The Prime Minister noted that education continues to get “special attention” with annual budgetary allocation of approximately $80 billion since 2012.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, in his remarks, hailed Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s “unwavering support” for education.

“As hard as (it) is to find the money, what we are doing throughout Jamaica…(resulting in) 120 new additions and increased spaces for thousands, at all levels of education, has been done with the consent and with the understanding and leadership of the Prime Minister,” he stated.

Rev. Thwaites advised that the upgrading of the two schools in Mandeville to provide additional classrooms, saved the country hundreds of millions of dollars, as the original plan was to construct a new school, which would have cost $850 million.

He said having spent $200 million at Belair School,  now a government grant-aided institution, and Mount St. Joseph’s Academy, “to restart (that) high school… we have got twice the number of student places that we were going to get…for $850 million.”

The Government spent over $45 million to reconstruct the Zion Hill Primary School, and erect eight additional classrooms at McIntosh Memorial Primary School.

A total of $64 million will be spent to undertake expansion and rehabilitation works at Mandeville Primary and Junior High School.

This will entail construction of a12-classroom block, new bathrooms, and facilities for increased access by persons with disabilities, as well as re-roofing and re-painting of the buildings.

The project is jointly funded by the Government and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).