JIS News

Students and teachers at the Middlesex Basic School in Guys Hill,St. Catherine are now enjoying new furniture and improved facilities, with the recent refurbishing of the school at a cost of over $2.3 million.
The project involved the rehabilitation of the existing school building, construction of a new classroom and sanitary facility for the school’s staff and students. In addition, the existing school building was rehabilitated and furniture including 40 desks, 80 chairs, three teachers’ desks and chairs were provided. The school also received new appliances such as a refrigerator and a four-burner stove for the canteen.
The refurbishing work was financed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) with funds provided under the World Bank’s National Community Development Project. As part of the condition for approval for funding, the community was required to contribute a minimum of five per cent of the project cost. This took the form of the demolition of the existing sanitation block, removal of the existing roof structure, site clearance and landscaping and the storage and security for materials on site.
Additionally, the community was asked to attend all project-related meetings, plan and cater for sponsor signing and handing over ceremonies and to find alternative location for the school during construction.
“Parents are excited and they are feeling very happy because of the facilities that we have now,” community member and Pastor of the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church Rev. Orlanzo Wright told JIS News.
He said the students were now occupying classrooms with facilities “conducive for proper learning and teaching,” noting that the former building was in a “dilapidated condition” and incapable of meeting the needs of the 78 students and three teachers at the school.
“With this expansion and renovation, it is helping. We have a spacious building and adequate facilities to meet the needs of all our children,” Rev. Wright said.
According to Rev. Wright, there were plans to start a community literacy programme at the school in the evenings and to help students prepare for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) tests. He noted that there was also need for evening classes for high school drop outs, who may wish to continue their studies, and a skills training programme. He said that teachers in the community would be asked to assist in this project.
JSIF has so far spent over $300 million on projects in various communities in St Catherine, with $136 million spent to refurbish 24 schools.

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