JIS News

The Ministry of Education and Youth has allocated more than $25 million to 23 primary, all-age and high schools under the Inner City Schools Improvement Programme (ISIP), since its inception some four years ago.
The programme, which was established in 2003, is targeted at schools located in the inner-city communities of Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay. Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Deputy Chief Education Officer at the Ministry, Everald Douglas, informed that the money went towards providing in-service training for guidance counsellors, teachers and principals; literacy and numeracy programmes for students; the creation of resource and technology rooms; as well as the construction and upgrading of school libraries; improving the physical plant of these schools; and the construction of new classroom blocks.
Mr. Douglas explained that in the schools in which the programme was implemented, the student attendance rate was below the national average; a high percentage of the teachers were pre-trained; there were frequent incidences of vandalism; infrastructure was poor, and there was little or no community and parental involvement in the activities of the schools.
According to the Deputy Chief Education Officer, the ISIP has helped to eliminate many of these challenges. “We are heartened by the responses that we have been receiving. This programme is really contributing to a lifting of the morale of teachers and students in these institutions,” he said.
“It has reached out into the community where parents themselves have been expressing greater appreciation and are offering greater support. They come in, they are present, and they participate in schools activities such as the Parent Teachers Association (PTA),” he informed. Mr. Douglas noted further that through the programme, the attendance rate at the schools has grown by over 85 per cent. “At times, these students just need some motivation.and that is just what this programme is designed to do, and it is doing that,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Co-ordinator for the programme, Margaret Brissett-Bolt, in an interview with JIS News earlier this year, also expressed satisfaction with the level of improvements that have taken place in the schools under the programme.
“All the schools now look better physically. They are clean and painted, and they have laboratories. Apart from this, there is a spirit in the school; when you look at how the children behave now, how they react and how they get involved in after school activities. it is just great,” she gushed.
“Most of the students and parents, all they need is for somebody to care, somebody to reach out and say, you can do it and you see the difference,” she added.

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