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The Ministry of Education and Youth on (Dec.13) presented grants totaling $88.5 million to 32 upgraded schools across the island under the Secondary Schools Enhancement Programme (SSEP).
The sums are to be used to support initiatives to improve student and teacher performance, expand curriculum offerings, improve attendance and upgrade the school plant.
Acting Assistant Chief Education Officer for School Operations, Everald Douglas, in his remarks at the presentation ceremony held at the Medallion Hall Hotel, said that the Ministry must be commended for its “timely intervention and for making available scarce resources, in support of our schools’ efforts to make the teaching and learning environments more accommodating and more conducive to the job at hand”.
He said that the beneficiary institutions have a responsibility to maximize the benefits that come with the grants and to ensure that the programmes implemented resulted in “quality output”.
“Your school being on the Secondary School Enhancement Programme has an opportunity to put in place many of those functions that hitherto, for want of financial support, you were not able to put in place or to accomplish,” Mr. Douglas noted.
The SSEP, he pointed out, hinged on the development and implementation of a school improvement plan, which he said, provided a blueprint for the development of the institution.
“This blueprint is very important as it identifies where the school is at any given point in time, where the school wants to go, what it wants to achieve and how to achieve it,” informed Mr. Douglas.
He said it was the Ministry’s hope that this intervention in the form of this Secondary School Enhancement Programme grant will strengthen your schools capacity for improvements in the delivery of quality education.” Introduced in 2001, the SSEP is a Government of Jamaica initiative and involves the provision of funds to recently upgraded or new high schools, which do not benefit under the Reform of Secondary School Programme (ROSE), to undertake actions detailed in a school development plan.
Lavern Wright, Principal of Alston High School, thanked the Ministry for the donation, noting that, “it really takes cash to do something and I want to say to the Ministry that we want to thank you very much”.