SW St Ann needs another high school ... MP says Aabuthnott Gallimore insufficient to serve people
South West St Ann Member of Parliament (MP) Keith Walford has called for the creation of at least one additional high school in his constituency, telling parliamentarians that the Aabuthnott Gallimore High School is insufficient to serve the needs of the people.
"What is happening now is that our students have to be travelling to as far as St Mary, Clarendon, getting up at five o'clock in the morning to get the bus to take them to school." He said that was not how he wanted the children to get an education, "travelling so early in the morning and then going to school all day".
"We certainly would hope that in time, we can achieve another high school in South West St Ann," Walford said.
The MP was making his contribution to the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Walford, a first-time MP, said Aabuthnott Gallimore High was built to accommodate 650 students, and that today, there were almost 1,500 students attending the school.
But according to an inspectorate report published by the Ministry of Education, Aabuthnott Gallimore High School, formerly called Alexandria High School, was built in 1974 to accommodate 950 students. The school's enrolment exceeds this number by more than 200, the ministry said.
Walford said that six new classrooms have been built under his watch and "have given a tremendous boost to our high school, and we are hoping that with time, we will get another high school".
The six new classrooms were constructed at a cost of $24 million.
The MP further told legislators that doors to a skills training centre would be opened "for the first time ever in South West St Ann" and would initially offer training in five skill areas and accommodate 100 students.
The facility is located at the site of the old Armadale Juvenile Correctional Facility in St Ann, which was gutted by fire in 2009.
"We want corporate Jamaica to get on board because we are seeking help in furbishing this facility. We need desks, we need chairs, we need equipment for practical skills. We are reaching out to the ministers for help because we think this facility can be a world-class facility, but we need to furnish it, and have it properly done so we can make the best of the facility," Walford said.