Hurricane Ivan Damaged 1,000 Public Schools


Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson has reported that Hurricane Ivan damaged approximately 1,000 or 40 per cent of publicly owned institutions, with 51 of these sustaining severe damage.
This is in addition to some 600 privately owned but government recognized basic schools. Making her presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday (October 5), on the recovery of the education system after Hurricane Ivan, Mrs. Henry Wilson emphasized that despite the damage, an attempt had been made to open all schools, partially in some instances.
She announced that the preliminary estimate of the cost of the damage to physical facilities, excluding tertiary institutions, ranged from $600 million to $700 million. Meanwhile, the preliminary estimate submitted by schools indicates that damage to equipment, appliances and educational materials, such as books, was approximately $100 million.
Mrs. Henry Wilson informed that while technical officers of the Ministry had continued to carry out damage assessment of public institutions at all levels, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF); the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR); and the CHASE Fund were also assisting with assessment activities.
The UDC is carrying out assessment of the damage done to post-primary institutions in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover and St. James, while the JSIF has already identified 50 basic, infant and primary level schools on which restoration work will commence later this month.
The JSIF will also restore another 50 schools beginning in four weeks. Contracts have been signed for the first 50 schools, while contracts for the second set are to be signed during the course of next week. Meanwhile, the ONR has already assessed 734 of the 1,000 public schools.
Mrs. Henry Wilson emphasized that the 51 schools, which had been most severely affected, would be given priority.
“In terms of the CHASE Fund, the Ministry is finalising with them, the process for them to send their quantity surveyors to look at specific schools – those not covered under JSIF – and we are expecting to receive a response from them as to the nature of their assistance,” she said.
The Ministry has acquired 12 tents to be placed at the most severely damaged schools to assist with the continuation of classes.
Mrs. Henry Wilson commended those schools that had used their initiative and through their own efforts, had commenced some repairs.

JIS Social