ST JAMES, Jamaica – The Ministry of Education and Youth has allocated $210 million for critical repairs to schools across the island.
In making the disclosure, portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, informed that each of the seven regions within the Ministry has received $30 million for the infrastructural upgrades.
The Minister was speaking at the 58th annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers' Association at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday.
Williams stated that, so far, 97 schools had been identified for critical repairs.
Of that number, tenders have been issued for 35 projects, estimates have been prepared for another 34, assessments are to be conducted for an additional 13, while contracts have been awarded for work to commence on 15 schools, the Minister said.
To date, the value of work that has been assessed amounts to some $196 million.
Williams stated that the goal of the Ministry in the long term is to transform the infrastructure of schools to 21st century readiness.
“Again, creating proper workplaces for teachers and administrators is a priority,” she said.
“We’re shoring up the team at the Ministry to be able to better respond to the needs of the schools,” Williams noted.
Additionally, the Minister indicated that major upgrades to schools’ administrative blocks will be undertaken as part of plans to provide better working conditions for teachers and administrators.
“The objective of the Ministry is to have an administrative block, properly configured, especially in our largest schools, and outfitted for the benefit of our teachers and administrators… . We have to move more aggressively to create proper working spaces for our teachers; there is no disagreement on that. On the infrastructure front, that was the reason for having the sessions with our principals to talk about what we're doing,” she said.