JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Two school libraries were opened in Westmoreland on May 8 by Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites and Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier.
  • The libraries were opened at the Savanna-la-Mar Infant School and the St. John’s Infant School.
  • Minister Thwaites called on parents to start playing a bigger role in the lives of their children, especially at this time when there are numerous distractions among that group.

Two school libraries were opened in Westmoreland on May 8 by Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites and Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier.

The libraries were opened at the Savanna-la-Mar Infant School, where $11 million was spent on the project; and the St. John’s Infant School, which was built and equipped at a cost of just over $10.1 million. Funding for the projects was provided by the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU), in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Speaking at the opening of the Savanna-la-Mar Infant School Library, Minister Thwaites called on parents to start playing a bigger role in the lives of their children, especially at this time when there are numerous distractions among that group.

“We have to spread in Jamaica an ethic where parents, whether they are rich or poor, are going to put their children first. Today is a call for that new responsibility. And as we educate our children, we also have to ensure that we educate parents, because many of us become parents before we really know how,” he said.

The Minister argued that Infant Schools across the island have to become centres for parenting education, where parents can be taught life skills on how to take care of their children.

“Parents must  learn how to take care of the little children, what to do with them, how to nourish them properly…and how to sacrifice one’s own pleasures and needs in order that the little children may prosper,” he emphasised.

Rev. Thwaites said the Government has been placing much emphasis on the development and improvement of early childhood education and is encouraging the public to join that cause.

“The Government’s policy is to put in more resources and to invite the country to invest more and more in early childhood education,” the Minister pointed out.

Meanwhile, Minister Kellier praised former Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, the late Hon. Roger Clarke, for his effort in getting the funds to establish the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU), which donated the money to build and equip the libraries.

“In 2005 Minister Clarke pounded the pavement of the European member states to secure compensation, based on the impact of the reduction of sugar prices by 36 per cent at the time. That particular trip yielded over 146,000 Euros by way of the EU-funded Accompanying Measures for sugar protocol,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the library at Savanna-la-Mar was one of five new facilities being completed in collaboration with the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), with funds from the STU, adding that the library will serve 350 students.