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The National Education Trust (NET) is looking to increase partnerships for the construction and upgrading of schools.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, Chief Executive Officer of the NET, Paul Matalon, said that the Trust intends to enhance collaboration with the church and the Diaspora.  Education, he pointed out, has been the largest beneficiary of Diaspora grants over the last 40 years.

"It's done through relationships with parent teachers associations (PTA), through boards and principals… so we're looking at the Diaspora to integrate them through NET to direct their philanthropy," he stated.

Mr. Matalon said that there has been a "re-birth" of the partnership with the church, through provision of infrastructure, teaching, and school management, to enhance the school system. He noted that the church is a key partner in the building of the Cedar Grove High School in St. Catherine, for which contract was signed earlier his year, with the New Testament Church of God providing the land for the project.

He informed that the Trust has also received donations of land from private persons.  "We've had a visit from an ex-student of Clarendon College whose family is going to finance a physics laboratory at the college. These are the types of partnerships that will ensure the longevity of the education infrastructure," he stated.

The Trust, established by the Government in 2010, is charged with working with the private sector and non-government organisations (NGO) to raise funds for the development and maintenance of education infrastructure. The aim is to eliminate the school space deficit at the primary and secondary levels and facilitate removal of the shift system.

In addition to the Cedar Grove School, the Trust took over completion of the Steer Town High School in St. Ann, and Belfield Primary in Manchester.

Mr. Matalon said that in carrying out its work the Trust will seek to raise funds on the private market so as to relieve government spending.