• JIS News

    Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has informed that it would cost US$185 million to build 45 secondary schools, in order to get rid of the shift system.
    He pointed out that a National Education Trust (NET) Fund would be used to “tackle” the shift system, adding that it would be an opportunity where many jobs could be created for the economy.
    “If we manage to achieve that, it would be a massive injection into the Jamaican economy of jobs and skills. So if you (private sector) want to create jobs, focus on the education system,” Mr. Holness said.
    The Minister was speaking at a Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) job creation award ceremony, held today (July 29), at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
    He also informed that in order to remove primary schools from the shift system, it would cost US$122 million.
    “If we were to seriously tackle that problem, we could add at minimum 2,000 jobs to the economy and of course the residual skills that those persons would acquire,” Mr. Holness said.
    He explained that the NET Fund would act as the co-ordinating body in the construction of schools and would seek to raise contributory funds and to be the receptacle for government’s participation in the construction process.
    “Already, we have an education tax and one of the things we want to do is, instead of putting the education tax directly into the Consolidated Fund, the government could make a commitment to place even a portion of the education tax into the Trust Fund over a period of time,” Mr. Holness said.
    “We intend to appeal to Jamaicans abroad for any contribution they can make. We intend to appeal to the charitable Foundations abroad for contribution, because we have to utilize brand Jamaica and of course we intend to appeal to corporate Jamaica for contributions,” he added.
    He also pointed out that there is scope for business partnerships in education in Jamaica.
    “Firms could decide to put up the money necessary to build the schools and the Trust will pay them back, amortised over time from contribution or from the government’s endowment,” Mr. Holness said.
    The NET Fund, when it commences operation in the next calendar year, will seek to improve and undertake infrastructural works in the education sector.
    The main purposes of the NET Fund are: to manage a National Education Endowment Fund; direct and co-ordinate non-financial resource, such as voluntary human resources, donated equipment, material and technology; act as the agency through which the government can execute its strategic objectives in developing and maintaining the education infrastructure, without being hampered by fiscal constraints; and interface with local and international funding organisations on education infrastructure development projects.