Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, said that a comprehensive furniture repair programme will be undertaken before the start of the new school year on September 3.
He said that an audit of all public schools was done to determine shortages, repair and disposal needs, and excesses, and the Ministry is hoping to supply furniture requirements as far as possible.
“The budget for furniture is very spare so, therefore, we are turning our hand and making fashion and asking the HEART Trust/NTA, which has technical facilities and repair facilities,…. for assistance," Minister Thwaites said at a recent press conference at his National Heroes Circle offices to address back-to-school matters.
He noted also that “we call on the technical students in as many schools as possible, those who do woodwork and metal work, to help us repair some of the piles of discarded furniture, which are to be seen on school premises all over Jamaica."
In a document circulated at the press conference, the Ministry said that new furniture will only be provided for schools where shortage is critical and that the regional offices will collaborate with individual schools to work through the arrangements for September. The Ministry noted that where excesses are found, the items will be redistributed to other needy schools.
The Ministry also informed that coming out of the audit, 15 schools were identified for infrastructure repairs at a cost of $40 million. Of these, nine were infant schools and six were primary schools with infant departments. Work on these institutions is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.
The Education Ministry also said that 20 high schools have been identified for infrastructure improvement. The scope of works range from general repairs to construction projects.