JIS News

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, is appealing to private sector stakeholders to partner with the Government to construct more secondary level institutions to complement the existing cadre of schools serving the nation’s children.

“I’m throwing it out to our business class, our elites, to start thinking seriously about investing in a school, creating a school,” Minister Holness implored.

He was speaking at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s Liguanea Branch awards dinner and celebrations on March 2 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

The Minister said the input of the private sector was crucial, as building schools has proven to be very costly, particularly high schools.

“Schools are very expensive ventures… it is going to cost us $7 million to build a high school now,” he said.

The Minister said, currently, there are about 164 high schools in the island, of which 46 are traditional schools, with the rest being newly upgraded high schools.

He noted that there are approximately 50,000 students, who have reached the age where they are eligible to enter secondary institutions, and are competing for the approximately 39,000 places available at these schools. He pointed out that many of these youngsters are aspiring for placement in traditional high schools, which account for 9,200 of the spaces available, hence, the need for more schools.

Minister Holness expressed the hope that within the next 10 years, the distinction between traditional and upgraded high schools will be removed.

During the function, outstanding employees attached to Sagicor’s Liguanea branch, were presented with awards for outstanding performance.

Arlene Lawrence, who was adjudged Agent of the Year, was presented with the Liguanea Cup, while the Most Improved Agent Trophy went to Jeremy Brown, and Krishna Turner was named Rookie of the Year.