JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Students of the Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon perform a cultural item on the newly asphalted grounds of the school, which was undertaken through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
  • The initiative, carried out under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), addressed the problem that had been affecting the health of teachers and students alike.
  • The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme is one of the Government’s strategies to counter chronic unemployment among Jamaicans of lower socio-economic groups.

The dust nuisance at Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon is now a thing of the past, following the paving of the school grounds at a cost of $5.1 million.

The initiative, carried out under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), addressed the problem that had been affecting the health of teachers and students alike.

In an interview with JIS News, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, says following the completion of the project, teachers and pupils have been operating under conditions more conducive to teaching and learning.

“The whole place was a dust bowl and when it rains, water settles and it becomes untidy for both children and the staff,” he notes.

“We were able to do a proper job. We also built a platform and an area for those who are disabled to use in the school, and we repaired the main water tank that was out of service for a long period of time, so the school is much better off today than before,” he adds.

Vice Principal of the school, Marsha Anderson, tells JIS News that the school ground was very dusty before the work was done.

“Teachers used to complain about getting sick with the dust …and not only the dust, the rocky area was very dangerous for the children as well,” Miss Anderson says.

“It has been much better, parents are still talking about it and it’s good for the children. The dust is down, so I think it’s very much better than it was before,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Senior Communications Officer at the National Works Agency (NWA), Colin Morrison, tells JIS News that prior to the completion of the project, in addition to the dust, water would settle on the premises and this became a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“So, the State Minister organised a team comprising representatives from the NWA, the Ministry of Transport Works and Housing, the Clarendon Parish Council and the Road Maintenance Fund. A visit was made to the school and they decided that the situation was intolerable and that the grounds had to be paved,” Mr. Morrison says.

The project was completed within four weeks in time for the re-opening of school last September.

“The works included the filling of areas where there were soft spots. Base and sub-base material were laid and then the entire area was paved with asphaltic concrete,” Mr. Morrison informs.

The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme is one of the Government’s strategies to counter chronic unemployment among Jamaicans of lower socio-economic groups.

It also provides employment for persons with special needs, as well as those with low skill levels.