JIS News

A special seminar will be held next month between the Government and the island’s private sector leaders, to stimulate further private investments in the education sector. Making the disclosure in her contribution to the 2007/08 Budget Debate in the House yesterday (May 1), Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said that tackling education successfully, “requires a truly bi-partisan approach”. “My hope, desire and intention is that all of us, as a Jamaican family – government, opposition, private sector, civil society, teachers, parents and every single Jamaican – will commit to the education of our children,” she added.
With this approach, she said, a radically improved and thoroughly modernized education system must be created. “Let us not ignore the business opportunities offered in the field of education. Travel through the urban centres in the evenings and see how many persons are taking courses at educational institutions.
Jamaicans are interested in education. We must develop the public and private sector partnerships, which will make more opportunities available to them,” the Prime Minister emphasized.
Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that in response to the urgent need for school spaces last year, almost 13,700 school spaces were created, and that this fiscal year, $3 billion would be spent to provide another 13,535 spaces.
“Over $1 billion was spent on critical repairs to 276 schools, with another 300 schools being identified for the next phase of repairs.eighty-two contracts have already been awarded,” she informed.
She also noted that in the last fiscal year, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) built or rehabilitated 45 educational institutions, including 22 basic schools, 10 All-age schools, and 13 primary schools.
The Prime Minister highlighted the fact that the promise to build 17 new schools in Western Jamaica has been kept, with the final school, Troy High in Trelawny, to be completed next month.
“Our young people are now enjoying the facilities of these schools. The Urban Development Corporation has spent some $3.5 billion in its school construction programme,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller informed that this year, universal secondary education would be achieved, with the creation of additional spaces, and that no new school would be placed on a shift system. Steps would be taken to begin to abolish this system in some schools, she added.

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