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KINGSTON — The Ministry of Education is seeking to fast-track its efforts to partner with the private sector in the build-out of needed schools, even as budgetary constraints limit the government’s ability to satisfy demand for additional school places.

This was stated by Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness, as he addressed Scotia Bank's scholarship awards luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on August 31.

Citing the reduction in budgetary allocation in the first Supplementary Estimates for 2011/12, the Minister stressed that a scarcity of resources should not be a limit to development. He noted the Government’s inability to finance the building of the schools to satisfy the demand, and pointed out that the administration is seeking private-sector support in the building of schools.

Despite the cut in the Ministry’s capital budget for the rest of the financial year, the Government plans to build 15 new schools in the medium term at a cost of between US$100 million and US$150 million, and 100 schools at a cost of US$1 billion over the longer term. The expenditure, the Minister said, would flow from build-out arrangements with the private sector.

The Minister congratulated the 19 scholarship recipients who excelled in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and urged parents and guardians to play an active role in the education of the children.

“The general argument is that parents lack the ability to teach, and although that may be so, we all have the ability to supervise and motivate,” Mr. Holness said.

 

By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter