Ground has been broken for the construction of the Cedar Grove High School in Gregory Park, St. Catherine.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, headed the list of officials who took part in the ceremony, on June 28.
The others were: Administrative Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Rev. Dr. Barrington Brown; Member of Parliament for East Central St. Catherine, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown; Country Representative, Inter-America Development Bank (IDB), Ancil Brewster; and Mayor of Portmore, George Lee.
On completion, the school will be the first to be built under the National Education Trust (NET), on behalf of the Ministry, and the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP). It is a joint initiative involving the New Testament Church of God Jamaica/Cayman Islands, which has leased the land. Funding is being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The school, which is slated to be completed next year, will cost $660 million, with works being undertaken by HDB Construction.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Education Minister lauded the initiative, noting that it renews the partnership between the Ministry and the church in providing education.
“The great educational institutions were born out of religions faith,” he said, reiterating that education is the only legitimate way for upward mobility in the society.
Rev. Thwaites encouraged members of the church to participate actively in the school and the upliftment of the students who will be attending.
He pointed out that there is a tremendous shortage of spaces at the secondary school level, and informed that 20,000 school places are needed in St. Catherine.
The Minister used the opportunity to encourage more partners to come on board in the process of building more schools in the island.
The school, which will be sited on the Gregory Park main road, next to the Cedar Grove community, will accommodate 1,200 students and 80 members of staff. It will have 20 classrooms, 10 technical workshops, 3 science laboratories; two computing laboratories; library, book rental room; tuck shop; store room; kitchen; multi-purpose dining area; and a ramp for the disabled.
The National Education Trust is a Government of Jamaica (GoJ) Company limited by guarantee and is the executing agency for GoJ’s strategic objectives in enabling and maintaining infrastructure investments in the education sector.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter