JIS News

The Ministry of Education and Youth, through its Education Transformation Project, is expending millions of dollars to construct and upgrade a number of schools in region six, which comprises the parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon.
Over the years, the population in the two parishes has grown significantly, but there has been no concomitant increase in classroom space, which has led to overcrowding, especially at the primary and secondary levels. In fact, Education Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson, blamed the recent delay in the publication of Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results on the difficulty in finding secondary space in the region.
Lauriston Wilson, Acting Director of Project Management and Technical Services at the Ministry, told JIS News that, “we are aware of the need for new schools, a complex of schools from early childhood to tertiary level in both parishes, and we have been looking into that because there is a large population of informal settlers. this has resulted in schools being greatly overcrowded.”
He informed that under phase one of the project, expansion work at four schools in St. Catherine have been completed. These schools are: Charlemont High, St. Jago High, Jose Marti Technical High, Tredegar Park Primary and Junior High School.
“In St. Catherine, under phase two of the project, Carron Hall High School and Rosemount Primary and Junior High are presently under construction which is expected to be completed by September,” he said. Construction is expected to begin shortly on an additional nine classrooms at Braeton Primary and Junior High, while an administrative area is to be built at Jose Marti.
Meanwhile, in Clarendon, the Green Park Primary and Junior High School have benefited from expansion, while under phase two of the project, Beulah All-Age and Denbigh High are currently under construction.
Mr. Wilson noted that this project is expected to bring about significant transformation in the education system as “these students will have suitable schools, adequate teaching facilities within close proximity; this will eliminate the extreme and costly travelling that many students are undertaking to avail themselves of secondary education,” he explained.
“We are providing a good learning environment, a facility in which students can feel comfortable to learn. They will want to learn because they will have adequate space, adequate furniture and the necessary materials to work with, so the opportunities for learning will be greater. This is of great benefit to both teachers and students alike,” he elaborated.
The Education Transformation Project is expected to cost the government about $3.6 billion and will be extended to the parishes of Westmoreland, St. James, Trelawny, Hanover, St. Mary, St. Ann, Portland, Manchester, St. Elizabeth and St. Thomas.