The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has built a new school building for some 120 students at the Mt. Pelier Basic School in Eastern Hanover. Constructed at a cost of $4.7 million, the new facility was officially opened on Wednesday (March 10).
The building consists of two classrooms, restrooms for teachers and students, a sick bay and a kitchen area. Furniture provided include desks and chairs for teachers, 60 desks and 120 chairs for the students.
A section of the school building
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of State for Education, Dr. Donald Rhodd, applauded JSIF for its efforts at poverty alleviation, making special mention of its work in the building of basic schools, and helping to improve the physical infrastructure and teaching/learning environment in schools.
Pointing out that at least 50 per cent of a child’s mental and cognitive development occurred by age five, he said as a result of this, every effort should be made to ensure that this period of development was enhanced and given priority.
The front of the school
“Early childhood development in Jamaica is going to be the single most critical factor in national and sustainable development and the thrust towards a learning society and lifelong learning. The nation, in its macro plans, has to assert that investment in young children’s education, care and development is the most vital cost effective investment that can be made at this time,” he declared.
He encouraged all Jamaicans to support the schools in their communities, especially the pre or basic schools.
Mr. Milton Harper, a Social Appraisal Officer with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund speaking at the Handing Over Ceremony for the Mount Pellier Basic School Construction Project.
Social Appraisal Officer at the JSIF, Milton Harper, in his remarks, said that the Mt. Pelier Basic School was among 20 poverty alleviation and community development projects that had been completed in the parish.
“In the last eight years we have invested almost $66.9 million in Hanover. This amount has financed projects which have provided much needed services for the most under-served communities in the parish; projects including road rehabilitation, water supply, sanitation, education and community facilities,” he said.
The Mt. Pelier Basic School has been in existence since 1960.