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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on Friday, November 27, signed contracts valued at $64 million for expansion and rehabilitation of the Mandeville Primary and Junior High School in Central Manchester
  • The project, being jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Caribbean Development Bank, will entail construction of a 12-classroom block with new bathrooms, and facilities for increased access by persons with disabilities, as well as re-roofing and re-painting of the buildings.
  • The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) will oversee implementation of the project, which will be carried out by construction firm, Ashtrom Building Systems Limited.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on Friday, November 27, signed contracts valued at $64 million for expansion and rehabilitation of the Mandeville Primary and Junior High School in Central Manchester.

The project, being jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Caribbean Development Bank, will entail construction of a 12-classroom block with new bathrooms, and facilities for increased access by persons with disabilities, as well as re-roofing and re-painting of the buildings.

The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) will oversee implementation of the project, which will be carried out by construction firm, Ashtrom Building Systems Limited.

The project is slated for completion by mid 2016, and is expected to result in the elimination of the double shift system, currently in place for the over 2,000 enrolled students.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the new classrooms are also expected to go a far way in reducing overcrowding at Mandeville Primary, “and bring the classroom/teacher ratio in line with the Ministry of Education’s standards.”

She said the project is consistent with the administration’s expansion programme being rolled out at schools islandwide.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Government’s programme to replace pit latrines at schools, being led by the Education Ministry.

“In 2011, there were more than 200 schools with pit latrines. Today, only 76 schools are without flush toilets…and I have (a) commitment from the Minister of Education (Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites) that during the 2016/17 school year, all schools will be equipped with flush toilet facilities,” she stated.

For his part, Rev. Thwaites commended the academic achievements at Mandeville Primary and Junior High School.

He said the school’s Grade Four literacy mastery score for 2015 was “just a shade” below 90 per cent, adding that “you are above the national average of nearly 65 per cent for numeracy.”

The Minister, however, challenged the school’s administration to improve on the numeracy “because we want… you (to be) up there in the 90s”.

He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to eliminate the shift system from both primary and secondary schools. “Thirty-four schools will come off shift this year. We have already done over 20 last year and…we will eliminate the shift system by 2017,” he said.

In his remarks, National Security Minister and Central Manchester Member of Parliament, Hon. Peter Bunting, said he is proud of the principals and teachers at the schools in the constituency, “who, every year, improve on the quality of passes we (record), whether at the primary or secondary level.”

For her part, the school’s Acting Principal, Marcia Sayers-Johnson, expressed gratitude for the project.

She said the elimination of the shift system at the school “will allow parents to better monitor the children, and secure the very fabric of our society…the family.”