JIS News

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stated that she will be placing special emphasis on the development of early childhood education given the potential it will have on the overall outcomes of the education sector. Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking on Thursday (Apr. 6) at the signing of a $10.2 Million contract by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) for the construction of a four classroom facility at the Care Bear Basic School in Whitfield Town.
She said that if the requisite standard of education is provided at the early childhood level there would be no need for the level of corrective measures that have had to be implemented at the primary and secondary levels of the education system. She said the government was fully cognizant of this and had already committed to transforming the sector at this level.
The Prime Minister noted that the construction of the Care Bear Basic School was just a beginning, but that it was a step in the right direction. She urged parents to send their children to school and resist the urge to keep them at home for a variety of reasons including assisting with the care of younger children.
Mrs. Simpson Miller stated her objection to the level of violence in schools and urged parents and stakeholders to engage in dialogue with teachers and school administrators in order to build a positive relationship and environment in which children can learn. She reminded the residents of Whitfield Town of their responsibility to protect and care for the school, the students and teachers, adding that they had an obligation to ensure that every child is free to walk at a happy pace to and from school.
The Prime Minister commended the Jamaica Social Investment Fund for its track record of success in managing projects and completing them on time and within budget and pointed out that no less was expected of the Care Bear Basic School.
Managing Director of the JSIF Mrs. Scarlette Gillings said the facility should be completed within the next four to five months and will feature a modular four classroom building complete with kitchen, principal’s office, and storeroom and bathroom facilities. She said the JSIF will shortly embark on an Inner City Basic Services for the Poor Project aimed at improving the quality of life for urban communities.
The project will include improvement to basic social infrastructure, access to micro-finance services, enhancement of public safety and the empowerment of communities to effectively participate in community development. Whitfield Town is one of the communities that will benefit from the programme.
Since its inception in 1996, the JSIF has been involved in 379 school based projects representing an investment of over $1.8 Billion in the education sector.

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