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The Ministry of Education and Youth has awarded contracts valued at more than $77 million for the provision of classroom furniture for teachers across the island.
The contracts, which were awarded to J and J Dabdoub, Rayton Electrical Commercial Equipment, and Barnett Metal and Fabrication Limited, will provide for the acquisition of 2,500 teachers’ desks and chairs; 1,500 four-drawer filing cabinets; 1,000 folding tables; 4,000 folding chairs; and 3,500 stationery cupboards.
Education and Youth Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson, in her remarks at the signing ceremony held today (Dec.5) at her National Heroes Circle offices, said that “we cannot overestimate the importance of ensuring that we provide a comfortable working environment for the teachers”.
“Our teachers are at the frontline of the teaching and learning environment. Inarguably, the single largest factor in student learning is the teacher. There is absolutely no question that if we can get effective teachers to remain in the classrooms, then our student outcomes will remain positive,” she added.
She informed that since the start of the academic year, the Ministry has embarked on an ongoing procurement drive, and since October, some 90,000 units of furniture for teachers and students have been delivered to schools islandwide.
She added that the Ministry was “committed to providing only the best for our teachers, so we have ensured that we have partnerships with contractors, who will give us the highest quality furniture and we will deliver on time”.
Charles Reid, Principal of the Kingston High School, who spoke on behalf of the teachers, expressed appreciation at the Ministry’s gesture.
“For many years, the teachers have been crying out loudly for classroom furniture, not just for students but for teachers. One would not understand what this will do the moral of the teachers, who will now know, that there is a space in the classroom designated principally for the teachers, equipped with furniture and cabinets,” Mr. Reid said.
The furniture will be distributed to all public schools at the beginning of the next school term in January.