Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Japan funds work at Fair Prospect Primary, Black River High schools

Published:Saturday | March 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica Hiromasa Yamazaki (third left) shakes hands with Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid (second right) at the ministry’s National Heroe’s Circle offices on Thursday. The occasion was the presentation of grants by the Government of Japan to improve the school plants at Fair Prospect Primary and Black River High. Witnessing the occasion (from left) are Floyd Green, state minister for education, youth and information; Latoya Harris, representative of the National Education Trust; Theobold Fearon, acting principal of Black River High; and Vincent Guthrie, chairman of Black River High School.

Termite-infested plyboard classrooms at the Fair Prospect Primary School in Portland and a lack of adequate classroom space at the Black River High School in St Elizabeth are problems that should soon be no more, following two multimillion-dollar grants from the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica.

Administrators from both schools recently signed contracts for the grants with Japanese Ambassador Hiromasa Yamazaki at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in the company of portfolio minister Senator Ruel Reid.

The grant to Fair Prospect Primary is valued at $11 million and will go towards constructing two new classrooms for grade six students as well as replace broken windows in the grades three, four, and five classrooms. While the grant to the Black River High School, valued at $20 million, will facilitate the construction of four classrooms.

"We are hoping that the students will have a new facility come September," disclosed Julie Bailey-Walters, principal of the Fair Prospect Primary School.

"We are working with the National Education Trust to ensure that it is done in a timely manner because it is the building that will house the grade six students who will be doing the very first Primary Exit Profile (PEP) test next year. (PEP replaces the Grade Six Achievement Test). We want to ensure they have comfortable facilities because when it rains, the current facilities become flooded," she told The Gleaner.

Black River High School was constructed in 1970 to accommodate 600 students, but it currently accommodates 1,704 students on a shift system. The construction of four new classrooms will be a major move towards permanently removing the school from the shift system.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com