JIS News

The new Breadnut Hill Basic School in Ocho Rios was officially handed over to the community by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund on Tuesday (September 28).
The school, which caters to approximately 30 students, was upgraded and equipped at a cost of $12 million.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, who was a special guest at the function, stressed that education was a partnership and lauded the CHASE Fund for their work and contribution towards the Education Sector.
“I am very pleased that CHASE has invested in this facility,” he said, encouraging parents and the wider community to partner with the school in the interest of their children’s education and future development.
“We have been working, hand-in-hand, with the Ministry of Education and the Early Childhood Commission to radically improve the quality and delivery of education,” said Chief Executive Officer at the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven.
He noted that, in addition to Breadnut Hill, the Fund had assisted with the renovation and construction of 14 other basic schools in St. Ann.
“Since the start of the year we have handed over 12 new basic schools and expect to hand over another seven by the end of the year,” he said, adding that the overarching objective of the Fund is to impact on Early Childhood Education across Jamaica.
He appealed to residents to take care of the facility, so that it will remain in place to serve future generations.
Principal of the School, Alice Thomas, thanked the CHASE Fund for the new school. She told JIS News that she was more than grateful for the work that was done.
“I am overjoyed. We have two classrooms, a play area, kitchen facility, a sick bay and excellent bathroom facilities, among other things. The children will certainly benefit from this new environment, and I am sure that the teaching and learning situation will be much better,” Mrs. Thomas said.
In acknowledging the efforts of private sector organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and quasi government organisations that seek to strengthen the Ministry’s educational objectives in the building of schools, Minister Holness toured the facility, as well as several other schools in the parish, meeting with Principals and Staff.
He was gladly welcomed at the Ferngrove Basic School, the Steer Town Academy, Exchange All-Age School, Ocho Rios and the St. Ann’s Bay Primary and Junior High School.
“We noticed in our census that St. Ann has had a major problem with overcrowding at the secondary level and, for that, we have built the Steer Town Academy which should be completed in January,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that the Government has also built the Mansfield Primary School, which was originally slated to take off the pressure at the primary sector, but was instead upgraded to a high school.
“So it is now the Mansfield High School, and temporarily housing students from Steer Town,” Mr. Holness said on his visit to the Exchange All-Age School, where a new classroom block was officially opened.
He stated that future plans for Exchange All Age should see to the school being taken off the shift system.
“As soon as Steer Town Academy is completed, then those students will move over, and we will have more space at the secondary level at Mansfield for students in the adjoining areas, including students from Exchange,” he said.
“We did that so that we could take the Exchange All-Age School off the shift system so, as soon as Mansfield is up and running, we will gradually phase out the All-Age grades at Exchange and place those students over at Mansfield Academy,” he said.

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