The community of Slipe in St. Elizabeth now boasts three modern basic schools, which were built by the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund at a cost of $31 million.
The institutions, which were officially opened and dedicated on Friday (February 19), are Cataboo and Slipe Basic Schools and the Slipe (SDA) Early Childhood Institution.
The new concrete buildings, which replace dilapidated plywood structures, are fully furnished, boasting male and female bathrooms, kitchens, offices, sick bays, play areas and safety features, which are required for early childhood institutions, under the Early Childhood Act.
Teacher at the Cataboo Basic School, Marsha McCallum (2nd left) interacts with her students, while teacher at Slipe Basic School, Alemena Arthurs (left) shares in the moment. Occasion was the official opening and dedication of the school located in St. Elizabeth on Friday (Feb.19).
Speaking at the dedication ceremony for the Cataboo Basic School, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Member of Parliament for South West St. Elizabeth, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the Government is committed to providing the best learning environment for young minds.
He implored the residents to take care of the facilities. “This is a gift to the community of Slipe. It is for your interest and for your development. It is for you to protect and preserve,” he stated.
“Ensure that it is used for the purpose that it is intended that is to make sure that every youngster learns to read and write,” Dr. Tufton added, while urging the teachers and administrators to “rise to the occasion. so that these young minds can be good citizens and children of this community.”
Early Childhood Education Supervisor at the Ministry of Education, Patricia Black (centre), points to something from a book to early childhood teachers in the Slipe community of St. Elizabeth. Occasion was the handing over and dedication of the upgraded Slipe (SDA) Early Childhood Institution in the parish on Friday (February 19). Two other institutions were also handed over on the same day – the Cataboo and Slipe basic schools. The upgrading work was undertaken by the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund at a cost of $31 million.
Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, W. Billy Heaven, said that in addition to providing high-quality buildings, children must be supported by good nutrition, qualified teachers, and good governance practices.
He also urged the community to “take care of the buildings, use them wisely, use them well and use them only for the purposes intended. Use them to achieve positive outcomes and create a better Jamaica through early childhood education.”
Early Childhood Education Supervisor at the Ministry of Education, Patricia Black, noted that the buildings were in keeping with the requirement of the Early Childhood Commission and will aid in the development of the children of Slipe.
“We celebrate not just structures made of blocks, cement and steel, but the dedication of schools where thousands of sparks will be lighting fires as they journey through the gates of the institutions. Let us hope that these schools will raise the bar for us by creating positive students that will show their family that they are capable of great things,” she stated.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony held at the Slipe (SDA) Early Childhood Institution, Principal Teslin Dennis, expressed gratitude for the new structure, which she said will help to enhance learning.
“The school was in a deplorable condition.we now have a proper school and we give thanks for it. This is an upliftment for the community, three schools built in one community, we are grateful for this opportunity,” Miss Dennis said.