JIS News

Some 97 basic schools are to be repaired and upgraded at a cost of $1.2 billion, during the 2006/07 fiscal year. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the announcement yesterday (May 9), when she made her contribution to the 2006/07 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
Repairs at 57 of the basic schools are to be done under the Lift Up Jamaica Programme, while another 30 schools will undergo face-lifts and improvements through assistance from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), she told members of the House.
The construction projects are also expected to create employment opportunities for more than 11,500 persons.
Turning to the Early Childhood Commission, she said it has completed its review of parenting programmes in order to inform the development of a new parenting policy.
“The Commission last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET), for the implementation of new early childhood curricula for Early Childhood Development Programmes Level I and II and the development of a Level III programme,” the Prime Minister informed.
She pointed out that Shortwood Teachers’ College would continue as the flagship institution of training for early childhood teachers, adding that the government remained committed to ensuring that early childhood-level schools would retain, at least, one trained teacher.
Additionally, a special component of the government’s Early Childhood Programme would be the Nutrition Project, which is currently being piloted in St. Mary.
“The pilot, which is being implemented at a cost of $30 million, is to determine the feasibility of the National Nutrition Programme for early childhood institutions,” she explained, adding that in the pilot phase, nutrition plans and menus were being developed and cooks were undergoing the requisite training.
The Prime Minister said the programme would be rolled out in September in all basic schools, and would ensure that each child in school has a nutritious meal provided in safe and healthy surroundings, with the support of the community.