JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government has selected the Islington Basic School in St. Mary as the National Project for Labor Day 2003 and has allocated $2 million for the renovation of the early childhood facility.
  • The upgrading of the institution, which was founded in 1938, is also meant to pay homage to the country's first basic school, which was founded by Rev. Henry Ward and Adlin Clarke.
  • Speaking with JIS News recently, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Culture with special responsibility for youth, Dr. Donald Rhodd said, "we want to highlight the fact that this is the first basic school started in Jamaica and we are proud that we were able to make it the national project."

The Government has selected the Islington Basic School in St. Mary as the National Project for Labor Day 2003 and has allocated $2 million for the renovation of the early childhood facility.

The upgrading of the institution, which was founded in 1938, is also meant to pay homage to the country’s first basic school, which was founded by Rev. Henry Ward and Adlin Clarke.

Speaking with JIS News recently, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Culture with special responsibility for youth, Dr. Donald Rhodd said, “we want to highlight the fact that this is the first basic school started in Jamaica and we are proud that we were able to make it the national project.”

Informing of the scope of work to be done, Dr. Rhodd said significant repairs would be made to the school’s roofing, plumbing, bathroom, and electrical facilities, the kitchen would be upgraded, and a soak away pit located to the rear of the school would be refurbished.

Speaking of further improvements intended for the 65 year-old school, Minister Rhodd said, “we also want to do landscaping to the school’s grounds and rehabilitate the roads on the premises leading to the school.”

Noting that the community has been supportive of the project, the Minister said there has been ongoing dialogue with the residents since an initial meeting was held on the school grounds earlier this month. He said that skilled and unskilled labourers in the rural community were expected to play an active role in the refurbishing process, with support from technical persons from the St. Mary Parish Council, National Works Agency (NWA) and the National Water Commission (NWC).

The Minister expressed the hope that other communities across the island would support the national focus on early childhood. “I hope Jamaica will buy into this year’s Labour Day more than they ever have in the past and give children the right start to first-world, quality educational facilities that we need in every country. Our children in particular, will be happier, healthier, and more educated for all of this,” he stated.

He informed that the Government had initially allocated approximately $7 million for Labour Day activities but the Ministry was putting together a project proposal to access additional funding. “We hope to access more funding through . the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and we are talking to the leadership at CHASE (the Culture, Health, Arts and Sports Education Fund),” he said.

Labor Day is celebrated May 23 each year. This year’s theme is “Play Your Part, Give Our Children the Right Start.a First Rate Early Childhood Facility for Your Community”.