JIS News

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has assured the country that the cut in the education budget will not affect the delivery of programmes and services in critical areas.
He said that the budget for areas such as nutrition, school fees, grants, student assessment, the PATH programme, the purchase of books and the development of books and teacher refunds have not been cut.
“Even though we have shaved our budget down, the student won’t feel an impact and neither would the teacher feel an impact. Where the cuts will have an impact is on our infrastructure development: Not the maintenance of schools, but the
Three new schools that had been scheduled to be constructed this financial year, 2009/10, have been pushed back until the next financial year, 2010/11, he told a press briefing at the Ministry, Heroes Circle, Kingston on Thursday (August 27).
“Education infrastructure is expensive, and by deferring three schools you are probably deferring about $1.5 billion,” Mr. Holness said.
“This is the problem with education infrastructure. Whenever there is a crunch, you preserve the recurrent budget and it is the capital budget that is sacrificed, always,” the Minister lamented.
He said that this is a problem that the Ministry has been experiencing from the very beginning of the public education system in Jamaica.
“The capital budget is never sufficient, so we end up at a point where we are disinvesting in the education sector,” he added.
Meanwhile, 16,954 pieces of furniture have been delivered to schools. High schools got 11,740 pieces; infant and basic schools, 2,400 pieces; primary schools got 2,824 pieces and all-age schools got 136 pieces. Approximately $97.5 million worth of furniture was delivered in June and July.
Furniture is also being provided to some private schools in which the Ministry has placed students from the Grade Six and Grade Nine Achievement tests.

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