KINGSTON — Children, who attend the Back Pasture Basic School in St. Catherine, will soon benefit from improved facilities, as a $7 million renovation project is to be undertaken at the institution.
The project, which is slated to commence soon is being funded through a grant from the Government of Japan under its Grassroots and Human Security Grants Project.
The renovation will see a new concrete structure, new windows and doors, new plumbing fixtures for the school’s kitchen and bathrooms, new playground equipment, installation of grills and electrical works, enclosed fencing, and a principal’s office. Approximately 50 students will benefit directly from this project.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony at the institution’s premises on July 8, 2011, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, said the development of the school will ensure that the children are accommodated in an environment that is conducive to learning.
He said that while putting in proper facilities is important to the learning process, it is also important for parents “to form that partnership to create the right environment for the proper socialisation of children so that they can develop the proper personality but more than anything, develop the proper abilities”.
Dr. Baugh, who is also Member of Parliament for West Central St. Catherine, thanked the Japanese for funding the project and urged the residents to take care of the facility.
“This must be an edifice of pride; here is where your children will learn to survive. Take care of it, preserve it and utilise it, because out of it will come some brilliant sons and daughters of Jamaica,” he told the community members.
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Hon. Gregory Mair, in adding his words of gratitude to the Japanese Government, said investments in education, and particularly the young, are critical to human development and nation building.
Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiroshi Yamaguchi, said the project will make it possible for students and teachers to work comfortably in a safe, secure and risk-free environment, without being concerned about infrastructural problems or disruptive weather conditions.
He noted that the Government of Japan, under its Grassroots and Human Security Grants project, has, among its priorities, improving the lives of adults and children in their pursuit of a promising future. “Therefore, it is toward this common objective that the Government of Japan welcomes the opportunity to support the efforts of the Government and people of Jamaica to make progress in important areas, including education,” he said.
School board chairman, Milton Jarrett, said the project will ensure that the students learn in a safe environment, adding that the construction phase will provide employment for community members.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter