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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said Jamaica was on target toward achieving universal access to secondary education with the addition of 15,000 new secondary school spaces during the past year. She said eight new high schools are scheduled for completion this year and which will add another 8,685 school spaces at the secondary level.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking on Friday (Feb. 2) at the 65th anniversary and Founders’ Day Awards Ceremony at Clarendon College. The function also involved the rededication of the school’s auditorium which is named in honour of Mr. C.L. Stuart, a former Headmaster.
She said that as part of the transformation of education, the government had also made significant investments in training and that through the HEART Trust/NTA 700 caregivers had been trained at the early childhood level. In addition, Mrs. Simpson Miller said that the government had upheld its commitment to place at least one degree trained teacher in each early childhood institution.
The Prime Minister also said that in keeping with efforts to improve institutional leadership skills, approximately 290 Principals had been trained and certified. She said a system of performance management would be implemented to monitor the performance of principals.
Mrs. Simpson Miller also highlighted the literacy support programme for grades 1 to 3 students which had been piloted in 24 schools across the country, noting that this was a key component of the transformation process.
“No child should leave primary school without achieving the required grade level of competency in literacy and numeracy,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She described the construction of the auditorium as an example of what can be achieved through partnership between the school and community, adding that this was at the heart of the transformation process.
She had high praise for the former principal Mr. C.L. Stuart who served as Principal of Clarendon College from 1946 to 1969. She said he was a model educator who demanded excellence in the classroom and the highest standards of graciousness and civility from all his students.