Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says the Government is willing to buy places from people who establish private schools, in a bid to provide additional spaces for the nation’s students, particularly at the primary and secondary levels.
Speaking at a meeting of the Jamaica College (JC) Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), at the school’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew, on March 12, Rev. Thwaites contended that if the educational system is to acquire the additional 100,000 spaces deemed necessary to phase out the shift system in secondary schools, and the 50,000 primary school places needed to have a more practical pupil-teacher ratio, then there is a need to emulate the efforts of early pioneers.
“It was men like the great (Bishop Percival) Gibson and Wesley Powell; Rev. Madge Saunders, as well as the Roman Catholic nuns and the Jesuit Priests who saw their eternal life as bespoken by the benefits that they gave to start schools of all sorts,” he pointed out.
Noting that many of the schools were started on the “back verandah of the church’s rectory,” or under a mango tree “in front of the convent,” the Minister contended that it was an opportune time to solicit the society’s input in building additional educational institutions.
“We need, perhaps, to say to our Jamaican people, we need to let down our buckets in those old wells and draw up some new sweet water of good schools – good places (of learning). The government is willing to buy places from people who set up private schools, because the Consolidated Fund won’t be able to afford all those new places (which are needed in the system),” Rev. Thwaites said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter