A total of $516.53 million has been allocated to the education sector to facilitate the upgrading and general improvement of the physical infrastructure of schools this fiscal year.
The money is being provided by the Government in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
Of the amount allocated, $315 million will be used to undertake various improvement works in several institutions. These include the installation of a bio-digester to complete sewerage workat the Steer Town High School; construction of an additional classroom block: Grades 4 to 6 at Belmont Academy; and renovation of an Anchovy High School building.
Construction of additional classroom blocks will also be undertaken to alleviate the shift system. This will include the expansion of four schools, providing each with an eight-classroom block. This should result in the provision of 1,280 additional spaces.
The remaining sum of $201.53 million will be allocated as follows: $51.53 million for the conversion of existing under-utilised space to Infant Departments; $40 million will be used to facilitate the erection of permanent partitioning for classrooms in multi-grade schools. Thirty schools are to be upgraded in 2013/14. This sum will also facilitate the completion of existing contracts.
In addition, $50 million will go towards the provision of additional school places in the town of Mandeville; $5 million will facilitate the payment of consultancy fees to professionals engaged in the School Expansion Programme; and $55 million will go towards the establishment of two Special Education Diagnostic Centres at two Teachers’ Colleges – Sam Sharpe and Church Teachers’ Colleges; and for the purchase of equipment for the Diagnostic Centres.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter