Red Hills primary gets flush toilet
RED HILLS, Clarendon:
The Red Hills Primary and Infant School, located in the deep rural parts of Clarendon, is one of the last set of institutions to have its pit latrines upgraded to flush toilets in the parish.
The new bathroom block was officially handed over to the school last week - just in time for the new academic year which began on Monday.
Principal Latoya Beckford who has been at the helm of the institution for the last three years, told Rural Xpress that an application was made to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to put in a proper bathroom facility at the school, and she managed to speed up the process.
"These pit latrines have been constructed in the 19th century, however, they have been modified over the years to withstand the test of time," said Beckford.
"Before now, students had to take someone with them whenever they need to use the bathroom for security reasons because there is an area of thick foliage close behind the latrines and there is no perimeter fencing," she said, adding that the facility is now easier to use and more convenient for both teachers and students.
Jacqueline Codner Shand, who teaches grades one and two said teachers also had to ask for company to use the bathroom. "Now it's different, because no one is afraid to sit on the seats and as we get up, we flush," she said.
Harvested rainwater will be used to supply water to operate the facility.
The parents are also happy to have their children now using decent bathroom facilities.
Denneice Richards has an eight-year-old son in grade four. "I really feel good to know they get a new bathroom now. They used to talk about it, but now we see it [has] become a reality, so parents can now be comfortable with the facilities their children use at school," she said. Richards also encouraged parents to partner with the school to take care of the bathroom and improve the children's school experience in any way they can.
The principal said she is looking forward to continuous improvements at the school so that they can increase the number of students attending the institution. The school, in 2014, received 100 per cent passes in literacy and numeracy. Those students, she pointed out, are now in grade six and they are expected to do well in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) next year. Beckford added that of the eight students who took the GSAT this year, six were placed in traditional high schools, including one boy who is now at for Calabar High School.