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Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry-Wilson, on Friday (May 26) officially opened five schools, which were constructed under the North Western Schools Programme.
The schools, which have been in operation for about a year, are Green Pond High, Green Pond Primary, Green Pond Basic, Irwin High and Irwin Primary. This brings to seven, the number of new schools completed under the programme for the parish, with the final institution, Providence Basic, under construction.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson, in her address at the opening ceremony held at Irwin High, praised the schools’ administration for their achievements so far and appealed to the community to protect the facilities. “It enhances your community and it provides your children with opportunities, which they may never have had otherwise,” he noted.
She encouraged both teachers and students to continue to strive for excellence, always exhibiting the attributes of integrity, good manners and respect for each other. Those attributes, she said, were evidence of a good education system. The North Western Schools programme involves the construction of 17 schools throughout western Jamaica, in the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland, at a cost of approximately $3.5 billion. The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is the implementing agency for the project, while WHICON Infrastructure Limited is the contracting agency.
Assistant Vice President at the UDC, Maurice Johnson, who addressed the opening ceremony, explained that the North Western Schools Programme was the latest partnership between the UDC and the Ministry of Education, both having collaborated on the construction of 10 schools in St. Catherine in 2000.
He stated that of the 17 schools to be built under the North Western Schools Programme, 11 have already been completed.
“These include the Frome Technical in Westmoreland and Holland Primary and Hague Basic and Primary in Trelawny. In Hanover, Lucea Basic is complete, and work is in progress on Hopewell High, Orange Bay High and Bethel Basic”, he said.
The UDC Vice President said that his organization was proud of its contribution to the education sector and urged the communities to protect the facilities, which have been provided.