JIS News

Story Highlights

  • NET is seeking to determine how schools requiring additional classrooms, can best be provided with these at significantly low cost.
  • The entity is exploring a range of strategies to satisfy the space requirements in the education system.
  • NET is considering a “mixed strategy” approach to constructing additional classrooms.

The National Education Trust (NET) is seeking to determine how schools requiring additional classrooms, can best be provided with these at significantly low cost.

Director of NET, Kathy Francis-McClure, says the entity is exploring a range of strategies to satisfy the space requirements in the education system, pointing out that “our aim is to eliminate the shift system and relieve overcrowding in our schools.”

Addressing the recent dedication ceremony for the newly expanded Belair High School in Mandeville, Manchester, Mrs. Francis-McClure informed that NET is considering a “mixed strategy” approach to constructing additional classrooms. This, she explains, includes utilizing alternative building systems and methodologies, and retrofitting and renovating existing facilities.

“This classroom addition at Belair High School is part of NET’s education infrastructure development project. We have used concrete modular construction to deliver the eight classrooms and sanitary facilities,” she added.

The new classrooms and facilities were built at a cost of $40 million, using the prefabricated system.

Mrs. Francis-McClure explained that the advantages of this solution include: a short turnaround time of approximately 12 weeks, and a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in cost, compared to the traditional block and steel building method, which she said would have taken about 25 weeks to complete.

“The modular building system also offers flexibility to expand both horizontally and vertically. Importantly, the systems are built to meet international building standards, and can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes,” Mrs. Francis-McClure added.

The National Education Trust (NET) is mandated by the Government of Jamaica to ensure that children have equitable access to a safe and secure physical learning environment.

This mandate is aligned with the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, and the Sector Plan for Education, to provide adequate infrastructure to address the demand for educational spaces at all levels. Close to 154,000 students, attending 116 schools, remain on the shift system.

NET has also been charged with the responsibility of coordinating investments and donations in the education sector through collaborations with public, private, and international partners and stakeholders, including members of the Jamaican Diaspora.