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Story Highlights

  • Approximately 10,000 students have benefitted from non-traditional teaching methods under a $19.4 million initiative undertaken at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew.
  • It targeted children, aged three to 17, who were enrolled in public early childhood institutions, primary schools, and high schools, as well as youngsters with special needs and wards of the State.
  • The project provided the youngsters with an opportunity to visit the Hope Zoo, free of cost, from Monday to Thursday.

Approximately 10,000 students have benefitted from non-traditional teaching methods, aimed at improving their learning patterns, under a $19.4 million initiative undertaken at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew.

The engagement, an education project tour, was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), and Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation, with financing from the Petro Caribe Development Fund.

It targeted children, aged three to 17, who were enrolled in public early childhood institutions, primary schools, and high schools, as well as youngsters with special needs and wards of the State.

The project provided the youngsters with an opportunity to visit the Hope Zoo, free of cost, from Monday to Thursday.

Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said the tour experience “provided integrated learning that taught children how to carefully and respectfully interact with animals, the environment and their peers.”

Mrs. Gillings was addressing the closing ceremony for the Alternative Livelihoods and Skills Development Hope Zoo Landscape Training Project, held at the zoo, on Tuesday, May 13.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Petro Caribe Fund, Dr. Wesley Hughes, thanked the Hope Zoo proprietors for “giving us the opportunity to spend money in line with the objective of the fund,” noting that each year, seven per cent of what is generated as surplus from the Petro Caribe Fund, is allocated to the Government for grants to be used for social projects.

“This is one project that has great benefit for learning and for civilizing the population in terms of (how to treat) the environment, animals and each other. So, it has great social value. Social capital can be built up by supporting a project like this and it gives great value for the future. Therefore, we saw it as something worthy of funding,” he said.

Young persons from several innercity communities benefited from the Hope Zoo Landscape Training Project, which was funded by the World Bank at a cost of $3.34 million.

The individuals, who are now certified by the HEART Trust/NTA, received training over a two-month period in landscaping, ornamental horticulture, and land preparation.