A new school has been built at Fruitful Vale, in Portland, at a cost of just over $160 million.
It will replace the old Fruitful Vale Primary School, which had deteriorated over the years and was unable to accommodate the growing school population.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, toured the new facility on August 11 to get a first-hand view of the completed work.
The new Fruitful Vale Primary School in Portland.
Speaking at a press briefing at the school, the Minister said he was pleased with the new facility, and that the Government was committed to replacing and building new schools, in spite of the tight fiscal constraints.
He cited two new facilities, Mansfield Primary and the Steer Town High School in St. Ann, which were also nearing completion. He added that three new schools are out to tender , and that process is expected to be completed by year end.
The Minister said however, that government alone could not build all the schools. ” It will take a collaborative and co-operative effort between private and public interests to build schools in Jamaica,” he added.
Mr. Holness said that to this end, a new entity, the National Education Trust (NET), would be launched shortly, and would “work from many angles to raise funds to construct schools.”
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), addresses a press briefing at the new Fruitful Vale Primary School, in Portland, on August 11. At right is Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Daryl Vaz
and at left is Principal of the School, Winston McLeary.
The Minister appealed to persons with land who are interested in making a contribution to education, to do so through the Trust, as a significant part of building a school is the availability of land, which can range from 10 to 30 per cent of the cost.
“We may not be able to build a school on the land, but if they want to contribute to education they can give the land to NET, which could use the value from the land to build schools,” Mr. Holness said.
In his address, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Daryl Vaz, thanked the Minister for making the school a reality.
He said the new school would significantly enhance the students’ learning abilities, and serve approximately 23 communities within a seven-mile radius.
The school was funded by the Government under its Primary Education Support Project (PESP) and will accommodate 315 students. It has nine classrooms, a library and other necessary amenities.
Also attending the ceremony were Director of Region Two in the Ministry of Education,
Dr. Annmarie Hall; Principal of Fruitful Vale Primary School, Winston McLeary, and Board Chairman, Cedley Gooden.