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  • Work is to commence soon for the construction of two additional classrooms at Buff Bay High School in Portland, at a cost of approximately $13 million.
  • This will increase the number of classrooms to 20 for the 800 students enrolled at the school.
  • The classrooms, along with a storage area, will be constructed with grant funding of $11 million provided under the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project, through the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica.

Work is to commence soon for the construction of two additional classrooms at Buff Bay High School in Portland, at a cost of approximately $13 million.

This will increase the number of classrooms to 20 for the 800 students enrolled at the school.

The classrooms, along with a storage area, will be constructed with grant funding of $11 million provided under the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project, through the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica.

This money was committed following representation made by the school’s Chairperson, Edith Smith, to the office of Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Yasuo Takase.

The remaining project sum will be provided by the Ministry of Education, and from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of Member of Parliament for Western Portland, where the school is situated, Daryl Vaz.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites and Mr. Vaz pledged to allocate $1 million each from the Ministry’s 2015/16 budget, and the CDF respectively, during the grant contract signing ceremony at the school, on December 10.

In his remarks, Rev. Thwaites expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for their “continued contribution to the development of education in Jamaica.”

“This is a huge undertaking and a very noble task (of) human solidarity that is inherent in this gift,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites also gave a commitment to approve establishment of a sixth form programme at Buff Bay High School, once an adequate number of students has been identified for enrolment.

“Once the school is able get a body of students who are matriculating to higher education, we will give you permission to start a sixth form here,” he assured.

Rev. Thwaites also lauded Mr. Vaz’ commitment to Buff Bay High School, and education in general, particularly within Portland.

“The policy of this Government, and I am sure of any other, is that we must try and unite in our approach to advance education,” the Minister said.

In his remarks, Ambassador Takase noted space constraints that the 46 year-old school has experienced over the years,  resulting in the administration having to institute the double shift system.

He pointed out that with the school’s current student population, “there is dire need for more classrooms to facilitate adequate teaching and learning.”

“With our contribution, it is my hope that the project will be completed in time to give a positive impact on every student in this institution,” he added.

Ambassador Takase said Grassroots Human Security Project activities undertaken in Jamaica have supported key areas, such as education, agriculture, community development, health, and emergency care response

“From 1995 to November 2015, the Government of Japan has provided funding in the amount of US$5.7 million (approximately J$650 million) for 81 projects across Jamaica at the grassroots level, to promote the protection and empowerment of the people,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Vaz welcomed the partnership that will result in an expansion that is needed at the school.

“We want to provide a more comfortable environment for the students to work in and of course, to accommodate more children,” he said.

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