JIS News

More than $42 million is being spent to renovate and expand the Yallahs Basic School and Resource Centre in St. Thomas. Work began in July and is expected to be completed by December this year.
The project falls under the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP), jointly funded by the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at a cost of US$15 million.
Under the EBSP, launched in March 2003, 23 basic schools and resource centres will be built and renovated, islandwide. All schools will receive furniture, computers, printers, televisions and VCRs as well as outdoor and indoor play equipment and other instructional materials.
Additionally, the project will undertake the training of Early Childhood Practitioners to HEART Trust/National Council of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) Levels 11 and 111, while Early Childhood Officers will be trained as NCTVET Assessors.
Speaking at the official ground breaking ceremony yesterday(September 20), at the Yallahs Baptist Church Hall, Project Manager of the EBSP, Keith Samuda said that so far under the Project, the Manchester Resource Centre in Mandeville has been renovated.
He also noted that the project, in collaboration with the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and the Dudley Grant Trust, equipped the centre with furniture, computers and teaching and learning materials.
Additionally, he informed that the Hope Village Basic School in Williamsfield, Manchester, was being built and on completion, work would commence at the DRB Grant Basic School and St. James Resource Centre, Montego Bay, and the Stephen James Basic School and Trelawny Resource Centre in Trelawny.
“The approval process for both sites is at different stages of completion, but work is scheduled to commence before the end of fiscal year 2006/07,” Mr. Samuda said.
He pointed out that the project was currently assessing some 680 practitioners and 81 Early Childhood Officers who were certified through NCTVET. In addition, he said two participants have been offered fellowships to pursue career development courses at the George Brown University in Toronto, Canada, during the summer of 2007.
Mr. Samuda appealed to parents and community members not to allow vandals to damage the building and urged them to continue to give their full support to the staff and programmes at the Yallahs Basic School and Resource Centre. He said that special sessions were held with parents and community leaders to inform them of the project and to get their support.
In an interview with JIS News, Principal of the Yallahs Basic School, Eleanor Gayle said that, “it’s a wonderful feeling. I think it’s the best thing the Government has done. to work on early childhood, because children are molded at the early childhood stage. If they should build more schools like this, we would have better students in the society”.
She said that the teachers were looking forward to the completion of the building as they would be better able to monitor and supervise the children who would be occupying separate classrooms in the new building.
Currently, the students and six teachers of the school have been occupying the Yallahs Baptist Church Hall.