New activities for Mount Zion Learning Centre
Hugh Johnson is to give up his post of Dean of Discipline at Steer Town Academy later this year, to concentrate on building Mount Zion Learning Centre in Ocho Rios, St Ann, as he pursues the vision of building a polytechnic institute.
After four terms in operation, Mount Zion has grown from 20 to 58 students and reopened last week to a slew of new disciplines.
"At present, I'm at Steer Town Academy as the Dean of Discipline, but I'll be retiring by April in order to come and put 110 per cent here because I need to focus not just on academics but also on extra-curricular activities," Johnson told The Gleaner.
"We are introducing the teaching of the social graces - how to eat, how to speak well - and also music, playing different instruments, karate, table tennis, lawn tennis and swimming."
He added, "I think if I do that, providing quality education that is affordable for all, it will be a plus. I want to employ the best practices to ensure that students get value for money. I do it for the love and not for the likes and substance over hype."
SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE
Johnson said he will be teaching several of the new activities, such as swimming, table tennis and music, which will not attract any additional fees. The others, though, where additional staff will be employed, will be offered at affordable rates.
"The vision for the school is to become a polytechnic because we realise that the pure academics is not enough, therefore you must expose the children to skills early so that they can gear themselves for the future," he pointed out.
The institution has received positive reviews from parents since its inception and Johnson said this is as a result of not just meeting but exceeding people's expectations.
"In addition, the physical plant has been upgraded, we have teachers who are committed and dedicated - and I handpicked them - to ensure that they provide quality education for the students," he said.
Johnson said the school will also seek to maintain its student-to-teacher ratio at below 15-to-one.