Chamber calls for another all-boys' school in MoBayThursday, August 12, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Janet Silvera is recommending that Government construct a second all-boys' school in St James to add to the more than century-old Cornwall College, the only boys' school in the parish.
“I decided I had to make a desperate call for the construction of another boys' school in St James. The Ministry of Education has been carrying a deficit for space for over 10 years, and the parish has been home to one boys' school for 125 years, Cornwall College,” Silvera said yesterday.
“The school (Cornwall College) has the capacity to accommodate 250 students each year after PEP (Primary Exit Profile) exams, while it receives transfer requests from another 250, because the scores are competitive, which means they would have made the mark, but for other reasons placed in other schools,” said Silvera.
She further argued that it is extremely critical for this other boys' school to be constructed “because of the overwhelming results of the transfers it is having on the principals in the different schools because they are strapped for space”.
“And although more boys are going to schools like Herbert Morrison because of the technical and vocational offering, it is just not enough,” the MBCCI president argued.
Last year, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang announced that a school for boys that will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics would be built in Norwood, St James.
The school, which is to be built on a section of a 25-acre parcel of land between Ironshore and Norwood, will be one of six such schools to be rolled out across the island.
“In the initial stages we may very well make it a boys' school because we have a real challenge with space for boys in St James, and we have real challenge with education for our young males,” Dr Chang, who is also the Member of Parliament for St James North Western, said then.
Added Silvera: “There is also the brain drain that we have to worry about because when we don't have the boys' schools here and those who can afford to they send their children ... everywhere else in Kingston and those boys never come back to Montego Bay.”
“So the smart thing to do is to build a traditional school for boys and treat it accordingly,” said Silvera.
She was speaking yesterday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre where liquefied natural gas (LNG) provider New Fortress Energy (NFE) kick-started its annual education programme that provides financial aid to high potential students across the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine and St James, where it operates its LNG plants.
This year, instead of its usual back-to-school fairs, NFE will be hosting simple handover session of the packages to the students, which started yesterday in St James.
Chief education officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr Kasan Troupe, said the gifts from the company will give more children the opportunity to access quality education.
“Thank you [NFE] for the vision, for the insight, and for always giving back. In excess of five years your company has done it. Through your social responsibility arm you have chosen education. And what a way to give back. That's the best way to develop a nation. Education is that weapon that will break the cycle of poverty that will improve the life chances of our boys and our girls those who are in our presence this morning,” Dr Troupe said.
Stressing the value of education, Verona Carter, vice-president at New Fortress Energy, lauded the students for the high grades that they have achieved.
“It's amazing the kind of grades that I see and how the high the education level is so give yourself a round of applause. We love you. We believe in you, you're Jamaica's future,” Carter remarked.
“... We are trying to make sure that we always leave the countries we operate in better than how we found it, and we have a strong belief that education is the only way. I'm a product of that and there are so many in Jamaica who are a product of that,” Carter said.
Students from across the three parishes will receive vouchers valued at $10,000 for 1,000 primary and high school students; 300 tablets, bursaries valued at $50,000 each for top performing needy high school students, backpacks, books and other school supplies for more than 1,000 students.
NFE has partnered with the chambers of commerce in the three parishes in the hosting of the handing over of school items.