JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A new infant department was officially opened at the Bull Bay All-Age School in St. Thomas, today (September 15), under the Ministry of Education Early Childhood Rationalisation Programme.
  • The Bull Bay All-Age School started classes in its infant department in January this year.
  • Principal, Mr. Justin Duncan, expressed a commitment to ensuring an interactive and fulfilling learning environment for the children.

A new infant department was officially opened at the Bull Bay All-Age School in St. Thomas, today (September  15),  under the Ministry of Education Early Childhood Rationalisation Programme.

The programme is aimed at merging basic schools into infant departments in primary schools, in order to allow students to be exposed to trained teachers, as well as to bolster the nutrition of children at the early childhood level.

In his address, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, challenged the school to become a centre of excellence for early childhood and primary education.

He said addition of the new infant department  highlights the direction of government policy to invest more heavily in early childhood education.

“An infant school related to a primary school allows for proper governance, and it allows for the needs of the children to be looked at from the earliest stages. [If] someone has a challenge, it can be corrected before it becomes a handicap,” he noted.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry has already amalgamated over 200 early childhood institutions into infant departments and is looking to complete another 300.

Information out of the Ministry is that from a budget of $47 million, 28 schools have so far been identified for renovation or modification for the creation of infant departments this academic year. To date, contracts valued at approximately $21 million have been awarded for work on 13 schools. The remaining 15 schools are at various stages of the procurement process.

The Bull Bay All-Age School started classes in its infant department in January this year. Registration for this academic year is still open, and  23 students have so far been enrolled.

Principal, Mr. Justin Duncan, expressed a commitment to ensuring an interactive and fulfilling learning environment for the children.

“It is important for us here at Bull Bay All-Age to have the Early Childhood department and so in a bid to improve their education, we will be creating and putting interactive lessons together for them and placing our emphasis on parental involvement,” he said.

Mr. Duncan also hopes to engage the involvement of the wider community, and expects that the success of the institution will lead to greater social development in the area.