- Forty-one infants, aged four to six years, of Eric Malcolm Basic School, in the community of Parks Road, West Rural St. Andrew, now have a new facility.
- The school is named in honour of late Parks Road resident and Justice of the Peace, Eric Malcolm, who was the church’s Sunday School Superintendent.
- Construction of the new school became necessary after the previous building was deemed inadequate to accommodate the pupils.
Forty-one infants, aged four to six years, of Eric Malcolm Basic School, in the community of Parks Road, West Rural St. Andrew, now have a new facility, which was constructed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost of $38.6 million.
The institution, which is affiliated with the Parks Road Church of God of Prophecy, was constructed under JSIF’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) programme, with financing provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), totaling $35.3 million, and the residents who contributed $3.3 million.
The project entailed construction of three classrooms, a Principal’s office, sick bay, bathrooms with access for the physically challenged, kitchen with pantry, bathroom facilities for staff, storage and dining areas, fenced play area, and installation of three water tanks and a pump.
The school is named in honour of late Parks Road resident and Justice of the Peace, Eric Malcolm, who was the church’s Sunday School Superintendent, and was integrally involved in the early childhood institution’s development.
Construction of the new school became necessary after the previous building was deemed inadequate to accommodate the pupils.
The institution was formally opened by Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, on Thursday, May 22.
In his remarks, Rev. Thwaites underscored the “profound significance” of the partnership involving JSIF, the Church, and residents of Parks Road, resulting in the school’s development.
The Minister reminded the audience that early childhood education is the most important aspect of a child’s development, which involves “giving these little children a good start,” by teaching them the lessons “that are going to fit them for life.”
National Overseer of the Church of God of Prophecy in Jamaica, Bishop Winston Leith, said the school’s development represents part of his vision for all the denomination’s churches islandwide to partner with the residents in the communities where they are located, to ensure that “the Church is felt in (each) community.”
“Education is the greatest investment that one can ever make in the life…and the greatest gift a parent can give to any child. Education is preparation for life and determines the quality of one’s life. It speaks to upward mobility in the society in which we all must play our part,” he said.
Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Paul Buchanan, also commended the partnership, noting that the school’s Board and management “must be proud of what you have done.”
In his remarks, JSIF’s General Manager in charge of Finance, Orville Hall, said the agency is committed to continue working with its community partners “in the interest of development.”
“Our aim remains that of channeling resources to the areas where they are most needed,” he assured.
Other speakers included: the School Board Chairman, Pastor Spencer Maitland; Social Development Commission (SDC) Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Manager, Sandra Goulbourne; Early Childhood Commission representative, Nadine Isaacs-Brown; and Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Overseer for the Church of God of Prophecy, Pastor Rudolph Daley.