JIS News

Following closely on the heels of a recent project involving the completion of a new classroom block and computer laboratory at the Sandy Bank Primary School in St. Elizabeth, the Treasure Beach Foundation (BREDS), has embarked on another project to expand the Mountainside Primary School.
Chairman of BREDS, Jason Henzell told JIS News that the school had raised more than $400,000 toward the project, and this among other things, had prompted the Foundation to assist in the effort to expand the institution.
“This school has been calling me for months so I came here the other day to attend the ground breaking ceremony for a new computer laboratory and what impressed me was the fact that the school had raised over $400,000 towards the activity,” he said, adding: “What also struck me was the fact that there seemed to be a very large school population operating under very overcrowded, hot and trying circumstances and so I decided to see what could be done by both BREDS as well as the Parish Development Committee (PDC) which I also chair.”
Mr. Henzell pointed out that BREDS had contacted Food for the Poor who had expressed an interest in providing some units to ease the overcrowding in the classrooms. “I believe in my heart that they will come through for us,” he said.
He also appealed to “all well thinking individuals and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to try and support the new project”.
“It is obvious that the government cannot provide all the infrastructure that is required by many of our rural schools and that is where the community has to come together for the betterment of our children,” he said.
Mr. Henzell underscored the fact that any investment made in the human resource of the country was normally a good one. “Education has to be our number one priority, I am in tourism, and I know the importance of our people having a very broad knowledge base, especially given the challenges of globalisation,” he stated.
Principal of the School, Glaville Smalling, told JIS News that the institution was the second oldest primary school in St. Elizabeth.
“In 1969 we moved from where the site of the original school was located into this building which currently house 510 students, believe me the building you are looking at was constructed to hold not more than perhaps 300 or so and with the passage of time this has come to present many challenges to us,” she said.
“The subvention or grant we get from the ministry merely helps to keep us afloat and perhaps to do minor repairs, that is why we are counting so much on BREDS and Food for the Poor to come on board and help us by providing the six or so units that we need,” she said.

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