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Story Highlights

  • Work is to commence shortly on the construction of four new classrooms at the Papine High School in St. Andrew.
  • To cost $20 million, the project forms part of the Government’s commitment to upgrade school infrastructure so as to eliminate the shift system.
  • A total of $290 million has set aside in this year’s budget for the construction of additional classrooms at several high schools across the island.

Work is to commence shortly on the construction of four new classrooms at the Papine High School in St. Andrew.

To cost $20 million, the project forms part of the Government’s commitment to upgrade school infrastructure so as to eliminate the shift system.

A total of $290 million has set aside in this year’s budget for the construction of additional classrooms at several high schools across the island.

Speaking during a tour of Papine High on May 7, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the Ministry is working to have the classrooms in place before the start of the new school year in September. The plan is to eventually take the school off the shift system.

Rev. Thwaites said the Government is committed to improving non-traditional schools like Papine High.

As such, he said, the Ministry will see how it can assist the institution to upgrade its various laboratories, and informed that the extended day concept will be introduced at the school.

He explained that the extended day makes full use of the school day, but “splits up the time of arrival and time of ending slightly, and it allows everyone to get the full contact hours, rather than a fraction of them, as in the shift system.”

Rev. Thwaites said he is impressed with the work of Principal, Leighton Christie, to improve the school and the outcome of students.

He lauded the institution for doing well, particularly in vocational and technical areas, despite limited resources, and for undertaking many programmes and interventions on its own, to enhance the institution.

Rev. Thwaites noted that the teachers at the school are very qualified, and “the students do as well as any who attend name brand” schools.

“They have started a 6th form, they have 13 technical and vocational opportunities for their children, playing to their aptitudes and the needs of the economy…they need all the support possible, and we’re going to offer them that,” he pledged.

Mr. Christie, for his part, said he is happy to learn that the school will be taken off the shift system, which, he said is “something that students have been clamouring for”.

He noted that the school is grateful for the continuous support it has been receiving from the Ministry, noting that the additional classrooms will help in some way to alleviate the issues associated with the shift system.

Papine High is one of several schools in Eastern St. Andrew, which the Minister visited today to assess areas of need.

He also toured New Providence Primary, Hope Valley Experimental, August Town Primary, Mona Primary, Mona High, and Mountain View Primary schools.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry will be seeking to assist with improving security at August Town Primary; establishing partitions at Hope Valley Experimental, and August Town; and putting in security fencing at New Providence Primary.

Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hylton, who accompanied Rev. Thwaites on the tour, said he was “very elated” to hear about the interventions that will be put in place to assist schools within his constituency.

“He (Rev. Thwaites) has seen some of the issues, but most importantly, he has seen the challenges of the school, but he has also seen the successes. I am very thankful, I am happy about the announcements that the Minister has made, the interest that he has paid in our schools in this constituency and by large, Jamaica,” he said.