Education Ministry to Invite Tenders for the Building of Schools


The Ministry of Education and Youth is in the process of inviting tenders for the construction of eight new schools across the island.
This has been disclosed to JIS News by Claude Stewart, Work Stream Head of Schools, Facilities and Infrastructure on the Education Transformation Team.
“Our programme has been in the making for the last year and it requires us to identify the required architectural and engineering services to design and prepare contract for tendering. Currently, we are in the process of going to contract on eight new schools, as well as expanding some 17 schools,” said Mr. Stewart.
He informed that of the eight schools to be constructed, two would be designated as primary institutions, and the rest as high schools. Schools will be constructed in Bamboo and Discovery Bay in St. Ann; Fair Prospect (Primary) in Portland; Mandeville in Manchester; Mile Gully in Manchester; Riversdale in St. Catherine; Springfield (Primary) in St. James and Steer Town in St. Ann.
“Both primary schools are being designed to hold 630 spaces each and the high schools vary. Mandeville will have 1,350; Mile Gully, 1,125; Riversdale, 900; Discovery Bay, 1,350; Bamboo 1,350 and Steer Town, 1,350 spaces,” informed Mr. Stewart.
He pointed out that the schools would be constructed in time for the new school year beginning in 2008.
Mr. Stewart told JIS News that the need to construct schools was as a result of the Education Task Force recommendation that most schools are currently over crowded with class sizes of 40 and above. “For us to meet international standards, we need to bring our class size down to 25. Having done a space audit, we have determined the number of spaces that are required. In terms of being able to address the Task Force recommendation of 25 per class in secondary and 30 in primary, we have identified the need to provide 172,000 spaces in the primary, and in the secondary, 242,000 spaces,” he said.
“So, we have to implement a major building programme to provide those spaces. In addition, several schools are on shift and one of the remits that we have is the need to eliminate the shift system,” he added.Mr. Stewart said it is estimated to cost $2 billion to construct the eight new schools.
All the schools will be fitted with the relevant computer labs, workshops, administrative spaces, playing field, and an auditorium.
In the meantime, the Ministry is to provide furniture for existing schools as well as the ones that are to be built. Mr. Stewart informed that to date, “we have provided approximately 120,000 units of furniture to schools islandwide and this is the most furniture that has ever been supplied to the schools in one year.”
“Furniture for teachers is also being provided and we have been spending in the region of $500 million in the provision of furniture and equipment to schools.
We have also undertaken a baseline study on all the schools which would provide us with the input in terms of selecting schools for repairs in the future. So there has been a significant amount of work that’s been done in terms of preparing ourselves to deliver our schools in a condition that allows for better learning environment,” said Mr. Stewart.

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