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  • Three additional classrooms have been built at Boundbrook Primary School in Port Antonio, Portland, at a cost of $11.5 million, increasing the number to 11.
  • The expansion was carried out with grant funding provided under the Government of Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Project, through the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica.
  • Construction of the classrooms came about after the school administration’s challenges with accommodating the over 700 enrolled students were brought to the attention of the Grassroots Human Security Project coordinators, at the Embassy, who initiated financing for the project.

Three additional classrooms have been built at Boundbrook Primary School in Port Antonio, Portland, at a cost of $11.5 million, increasing the number to 11.

The expansion was carried out with grant funding provided under the Government of Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Project, through the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica.

Construction of the classrooms came about after the school administration’s challenges with accommodating the over 700 enrolled students were brought to the attention of the Grassroots Human Security Project coordinators, at the Embassy, who initiated financing for the project.

One of the new classrooms is being converted into a resource/enrichment centre, to cater to the needs of students deemed to have learning challenges.

The additional classrooms will also be very significant in the thrust to remove the shift system from the school over time.

The new block was formally opened during a dedication ceremony on Wednesday, December 10.

Speaking at the function, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites,  thanked the Government of Japan for their generosity and “spirit of humanity” extended through the gesture, describing it as a “great gift.”

He also indicated that the Ministry plans to do “what is really necessary” to remove the shift system from Boundbrook Primary School.

“The shift, although started with good intentions, so that there could be more places in school for our children, deprives them of the playing time, the extracurricular time, which is so important. Therefore, it is the policy of the Government of Jamaica that we must use every means possible and craft every partnership available, so that we reduce and eventually eliminate it,” the Minister said.

While acknowledging the need for additional classrooms to facilitate full abolition of the shift system at Boundbrook Primary School, Rev. Thwaites said it “may not be possible” to provide all of these in the near future.

Commending the work of the Principal, Lola Palmer and her teachers, Rev. Thwaites encouraged them to do even more to further improve the performance of the students.

“English and Mathematics are basic essentials for the education system, and I challenge Boundbrook Primary School, as I (do) every school I go to in Jamaica…that we have to improve our standards at Grade Four. Our children must be able to achieve mastery in English and numeracy at Grade Four…that is the standard of a good primary school,” he said.

In his remarks, Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, said the gesture to Boundbrook Primary School is indicative that “the Government of Japan values education highly in the conduct of our assistance to Jamaica.”

“After visiting the school, the Embassy saw the need to construct the classroom facilities that would enhance education at Boundbrook,” he said.

Ambassador Takase said that as the 50th anniversary commemoration of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Japan draws to a close, “I pledge to continue to work with the Government and people of Jamaica to strengthen the partnership between our countries.”

For his part, Portland’s Custos Rotulorum, Hon. Captain Lincoln Thaxter, said he was honoured to be part of the “momentous and historic occasion” at the school.

“It is always a pleasure to see this kind of partnership (in) education between all the various stakeholders who have demonstrated a tangible support for its development, particularly the Government and people of Japan, who not for the first time, have joined hands and hearts in assisting us in this parish and in this country, in moving the whole process of education,” he said.

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