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CHASE to spend millions on schools

Published:Sunday | April 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites (and left) participates in the signing of contracts for construction and renovation of five basic schools as CEO of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven (left), CHASE directors Dr Rose Davies (2nd right) and Eugene Kelly look on.

The CHASE Fund has signed construction and renovation contracts amounting to $103 million to build and upgrade five basic and infant schools in Hanover, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Manchester, and St Andrew.

The Black River Primary and Infant School in St Elizabeth, Mount Eagles Early Childhood Institution in Westmore-land, and the Precious Plain Basic School in Manchester will see extensive upgrading of their existing facilities.

Two new schools will be constructed. The Little Einsteins Learning Centre in the Seaview Gardens Phase I community in St Andrew will be built on land donated by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, and the St Simon's Basic School in Hanover will be constructed on the St Simon's Primary School property.

The St Simon's Basic School is part of the Ministry of Education's rationalisation programme to transition basic schools to infant schools or infant departments.

Speaking at the signing, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites indicated that to date 227 basic schools had been rationalised into infant departments.

"We are amalgamating many of the basic schools into infant departments where the Government can offer the services of trained teachers and bolster the nutrition of basic-school children," said Thwaites.

"Our target for the 2015-2016 financial year is for the rationalisation of an additional 250 basic schools into infant departments," added Thwaites.

Chief Executive Officer of CHASE Billy Heaven said the construction and renovation of the schools were just a part of the company's larger focus on early childhood education.


access quality education


"The Fund has built 53 basic schools and resource centres; and upgraded and equipped 511, many of them located in remote rural communities, making it easier for children in rural communities to access quality early childhood

education," said Heaven.

All five schools, when completed, will be fenced and provided with fully equipped kitchens, furniture and play equipment.

Since its inception 12 years ago,

the CHASE Fund has invested $3.2 billion in the early childhood sector to facilitate infrastructure development, capacity building for early childhood educators; curriculum design and nutrition interventions; and the acquisition of vital educational aides and resource materials.