20 schools to be 'properly fenced,' Samuda says

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20 schools to be 'properly fenced,' Samuda says

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister without portfolio in the Education Ministry, Karl Samuda, says that 20 schools will be properly fenced to kick-start additional security measures that will be put in place following the recent spike in altercations in schools across the island.

"Every day we are hearing of new cases of assault against the teachers, assaults among the children onto the other, and the breaches of our existing fences. We are putting in place measures to curtail access to the schools through our perimeter fences in 20 schools as an initial measure. We did a complete islandwide assessment of the perimeter fences and the problem of being able to access schools," Samuda said.

According to the minister, this initiative will cost approximately $5 billion and work will begin this year.

"We wish we could do more, but as resources become available, we are going to focus on that. Everything that we do, we are constrained by the amount that is in the budget to the end of March, but we are doing all the (preparation) work so that there is no lag time," he said.

Additionally, Samuda says he is also working to improve the school feeding programme.

"We had initially earmarked 70,000 to benefit from the school feeding programme but we have decided, based on the resources made available to us that we will be increasing that to 100,000,” he said.

He explained that beyond next year March, all students in need will be able to benefit from the programme at a cost of approximately $1.2 billion.

"We are to complete all the proprietary work to ensure that 100 per cent of our needs basket is fulfilled,” the minister said.

"You can imagine having that many children going to school on bush tea until 11 o'clock when they fall asleep or somebody has mercy on them and gives them a little cracker or two. We are eliminating that from Jamaica. That's the objective — To make sure that every child gets an opportunity to have proper nutrition so that they can learn, because if we can't provide the money at this stage we are going to compromise the education system in the country and that will last over generations. We have to curtail it from now, nip it in the bud. That is my mission," Samuda said.

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