JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Education Trust is eager to partner with philanthropic and investor interests in expanding and modernising the country’s school plants.
  • The Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St. Catherine is the first school to be built under the NET on behalf of the Ministry.
  • The Government was making progress in expanding the quality of spaces.

The National Education Trust (NET) is eager to partner with philanthropic and investor interests in expanding and modernising the country’s school plants.

This was the word from Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, as he addressed the dedication ceremony for The Cedar Grove Academy in Portmore, St. Catherine, on Thursday, February 21.

The school is the first to be built under the NET on behalf of the Ministry, and is a joint initiative involving the New Testament Church of God Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, at a cost of approximately $660 million. Funding was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The Minister noted that the need for new classroom spaces is great, pointing out that even with the 1,200 spaces provided at the Cedar Grove Academy, a further 6,000 are needed in Portmore, which is an expanding community.

He informed however, that Government was making progress in expanding the quality of spaces, with recent additions at Belair High School in Manchester; Central High School, Clarendon; and Holy Trinity High in Kingston.

“Before the end of the financial year we have another six to go; and next year we are planning, within existing resources, and those that were pledged beforehand, for another 33 schools to be brought to a higher level of occupancy and quality,” Minister Thwaites said.

He described Thursday’s dedication of the Cedar Grove Academy as a joyous occasion, noting that the school will provide the students with the opportunity to get an education in modern facilities, “not cramped up in shift schools, not in overcrowded facilities, but in a new school.”

Minister Thwaites said the existence of this sixth high school in Portmore, makes it possible for parents in and around the municipality to send their children to a nearby institution of excellence, without the inconvenience and costs associated with a long commute.

He also pointed out that “the board, the church partner, the principal and staff, the students, the parents as well as the community have an opportunity to shape a school culture of their own. The Cedar Grove Academy, is going to be different and better because not only academic subjects are being taught here, but side by side will be those technical and vocational competencies which will…, (make) the students graduating ready for tertiary education and better able to employ themselves or be employed.”

The Education Minister called upon the school and community to care for the facilities, warning that “this school must look as crisp and pretty in five years time as it does now.”

Meanwhile, Acting Mayor, Councillor Leon Thomas, said the dedication ceremony marks a significant milestone in education in Portmore.

“The academy is the most modern educational facility in the municipality and is contributing greatly to the delivery of secondary education to our children,” the Acting Mayor said.

He encouraged the parents in attendance to take an active part in the education of their children, including attending Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings, while urging the students to work hard to make their parents proud.

Mr. Thomas implored the administrators and teachers of the institution to ensure that good values are taught and instilled in the children. “Get to know each student in your care; talk with them; pay attention to their moods and attitudes as sometimes the slightest change can raise an alarm to a problem. Stay connected with the children’s parents, communicate with them share the good and not so good,” he stated.