Help is on the way for the Mount Rosser Primary School in St. Catherine.
Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the Ministry will assist the school’s efforts to built modern sanitary facilities in time for the start of the new academic year in September.
Mount Rosser Primary is one of 200 schools island-wide that still use pit latrines and the institution has made a public appeal for help to upgrade its sanitary facilities.
"It is a matter of reproach that over 200 schools in Jamaica are still using pit latrines," the Education Minister said, as he addressed region one educators on August 8 at a back-to school conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Rev. Thwaites informed that the residents of Mount Rosser have organised work days to build the toilets and, “the Ministry of Education must move to help them not next week, but this week. They (students) must have proper toilets by the time they go back to school,” he said.
The Education Minister also said that Food For the Poor and The Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund, have promised to assist in helping to replace toilets in some schools. He also called on Parliamentarians to support the schools in their constituency through their Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
The all-day conference, held under the theme: ‘Empowering Youth Through Partnerships: Get It Right The First Time,’ included principals, chairmen of school boards and other education officials and stakeholders from the Ministry’s area one.
Among the objectives were: to update stakeholders on the Ministry’s policy directives, initiatives and programmes; provide a forum for the public to have direct interface with the Ministry; elevate the value of education in the public domain; and ensure an orderly reopening of educational institutions for the 2012/13 academic year.
In a wide ranging address, the Education Minister said that for the new school year, “there needs to be a new start. If jubilee means anything, it must be a new beginning, a new surge in respect of education."
“Whatever else we are able to do within existing resources is brawta… I would rather drive on rotted roads and have an excellent education system, than drive on Barber Greene and continue with the mediocrity of the present,” he stated.