JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Rev. Thwaites was addressing the opening ceremony for the Radley Reid Chemistry Lab at Campion College.
  • Rev. Thwaites said these alumni relations should be engaged in advancing the education process.
  • The facilities now feature 10 new student work stations.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has lauded the contribution of the various alumni organisations to the transformation of Jamaica’s education system, stating that their donations are investments “of the highest returns”.

Rev. Thwaites was addressing administrators, alumni and students at Campion College in St. Andrew on September 30, at the dedication and opening ceremony for the Radley Reid Chemistry Lab, at the secondary institution.

Noting that there are over 130 alumni of secondary and primary schools locally and overseas, Rev. Thwaites said these relations should be engaged in advancing the education process.

These partnerships, he argued, are particularly critical in improving achievement in the sciences, which saw 58 per cent passes in this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) results, reflecting a four percentage point increase over 2012. Rev. Thwaites said that while the improvement is encouraging, it is not adequate for the development and progress of the nation.

Commending those who contributed to the Campion College lab, the Education Minister noted that too often, it was assumed that schools such as Campion were sufficiently resourced. “Too often, we take this process for granted…it involves the arduous efforts of all of those who have contributed…,” he stated.

He said that the facilities should be replicated in all schools.  “I hope that this example will be infectious to all schools…the role of alumni, the role of friends (and) benefactors to foundations in the education system is absolutely essential,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Reid, the former principal and teacher of Campion College, for whom the lab is named, expressed his appreciation at the honour, while giving a humorous account of his experiences at the institution.

The facilities, on which more renovation is to be done, now feature 10 new student work stations; a new teacher station; emergency shower and eye wash station; a second exit; upgraded electric, gas and plumbing infrastructure; and Internet access for teachers and students.

Donors to the project include: parents, who contributed US$30,000 through the St. Edmund’s Foundation, with Andrew and Sara Budhan donating US$20,000. Other contributors include: GraceKennedy Foundation; the Burgess Family; Dr Jeffrey Meeks; Ex-o-Pest Ltd; Peter Reid; Dr. Michelle Foote; Econocaribe Consolidators Inc; Tradespan Cargo Limited; Gregory Worton and Jagon International Limited; Denise and Neville Lyn-Fatt; and Freight Handlers Limited.

The lab project falls under the first phase of the school’s 10-year Vision 2020 campaign.