KINGSTON — Paul Mountain Primary School in St. Catherine has received a $21 million facelift and improved sanitation through funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
The works include: construction of a new sanitation block; rehabilitation of the classroom blocks; expansion and rehabilitation of kitchen/tuck shop; and construction of an eating patio. The library and administrative offices have also been expanded and rehabilitated, and water storage tanks installed.
The community contributed over $2.2 million in kind and voluntary work to the project.
Speaking at a handing over ceremony on Thursday, December 1, Managing Director of the JSIF, Mrs. Scarlette Gillings, said with the upgrade, the school would continue to make meaningful strides in the community.
“This upgraded school stands to make an invaluable contribution as the only primary school in this community. When the community makes their input, it costs Government a little less, and so projects invariably end up less than other programmes, because of the community involvement. It is so important that we recognise that communities however poor, can make a contribution to their development,” she stated
In her address, Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Yvet Dennis, said the investment is to boost education in the community, and that good surroundings enhances the teaching and learning process. “Our staff will be more motivated to give of themselves, because we know that when we work in good surroundings it really does make an impact on how we function. And we are expecting to see our literacy rate improve,” she told the gathering.
Vice Chairman of the school board, Zephaniah Kellerman, while imploring the residents to play their part in the protection the school, noted that “the future of our country belongs to our youth, and not just youth, but youth with good character good development and training. So, keep this building clean, take care of it. Our children and grand children will be educated here,” he said.
Principal Deloris Clement, thanked JSIF and the community for the timely completion of the work, while Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency, Stephen Hallihan, urged the teachers to continue to be nation builders, in preparing students for the future.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter