JIS News

The St. Leonard’s Basic School in Eastern Westmoreland, which was recently upgraded at a cost of over $9 million, was officially opened on Thursday (December 1) by Minister of Education, Youth and Culture Maxine Henry-Wilson.
Work on the school was completed in two phases, with phase one involving the expansion of the canteen, kitchen, staff room and principal’s office. The work was undertaken through community effort with approximately $5 million in funding from businesses and citizen’s groups.
Phase two of the project, which was financed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost of $4.2 million, comprised the construction of three classrooms, sanitary facilities for both teachers and students, and the provision of furniture and play equipment.
The St. Leonard’s Benevolent Society plans to embark on a third phase of development in 2005, which would involve the construction of a computer laboratory and community centre.
Mrs. Henry Wilson, in her address at the opening, said the Ministry was operating on the conviction that, ‘Every child can learn and every child must’. “We believe that every child has some aptitude, and every child has some ability, and that as educators we are challenged to hone that ability, to find that aptitude, and to make sure that that aptitude is developed to the best extent possible”, she stated.
She noted that the government was committed to the development of early childhood education, to create a solid foundation for future learning.
As part of the process, she said that at least one trained teacher would be placed in each of the island’s 2025 recognized basic schools by 2008. So far, approximately 400 teachers have been placed, the Minister informed.
There are 124 recognized early childhood institutions in the parish of Westmoreland.
Established in 1956, the St. Leonard’s Basic School serves the communities of St Leonard’s, Seaford Town, Bridgewater, March Month Road, Hill Top and Floyd Lodge. It has a student population of 70.

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