- Jamaica needs some 45,000 secondary school places with some 5,000 new spots in the Montego Bay area alone.
- A visiting delegation from Turkey is in the island for discussions towards the construction of a state-of- the-art private school in Jamaica.
- The Government of Jamaica is keen on entering into partnerships with local and foreign entities to expand and modernise the country’s school plants.
The Ministry of Education is looking at lands close to Montego Bay, St. James for the establishment of a new public high school to meet the demand for secondary places in the western region.
“We hope to advance these plans to some level of completion in 2015,” said Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who made the announcement on Friday, January 17.
He said that Jamaica needs some 45,000 secondary school places to do away with the two-shift system and there is demand for some 5,000 new spots in the Montego Bay area alone.
The Minister was speaking at a luncheon held at the Half Moon Hotel for a visiting delegation from Turkey, which is in the island for discussions towards the construction of a state-of- the-art private school in Jamaica.
The eight-member team, led by Governor of the Province of Bursa, Hon. Sahabettin Harput, has earlier toured a potential site in Ironshore, Montego Bay.
The Turkish delegation also held discussions with representatives from the education and business communities, who were also on the tour, on the way forward for the project, which is expected to get underway soon.
Minister Thwaites hailed the Turkish Government for making good on its promise to establish an educational institution for students in the western end of the island.
He said that the Government of Jamaica is keen on entering into partnerships with local and foreign entities to expand and modernise the country’s school plants in order to improve the teaching and learning experiences.
“The Ministry’s number one goal is to radically improve student achievement, qualitatively and quantitatively, and produce graduates that are as world-class as our athletes and our artistes,” Rev. Thwaites stated.
He noted the need for multi-lingual graduates in order to fill jobs across the island, and expressed the hope that the proposed venture will play a “real and substantial part” in meeting that demand.
Minister Thwaites said that the education system also requires “new opportunities and new depths” in the teaching of mathematics and the sciences and “we challenge our interested friends from abroad to assist us in this regard.”
“Our friends from Turkey have wide interests in the health care sector as well, and perhaps this is an element of the conversation that can be extended later today,” Rev. Thwaites stated further.
Governor Harput, in his remarks, said that despite the distance between the two countries, there is no significant barrier between “our hearts and the hearts of the fine people of Jamaica”.
“We are therefore moving a step forward towards improving the relations between Turkey and Jamaica. You know that for today, yesterday, tomorrow and for all times, the most important thing is education. It is education, which makes a man and which differentiates between mankind and other creations,” he noted.
Governor Harput said that he and his Government are committed to “walking with the people of Jamaica into the future” and in ensuring that there is quality education for the youths, who “will become the builders of the bridges of love and friendship between Turkey and Jamaica”.