Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
PATRICIA BERNARD, principal of Ebenezer Primary School, located in the deep rural district of Ebenezer in the parish of Manchester has said the school is to receive a fresh coat of paint ahead of the start of the new academic year.
"Well, the main thing we have to do in preparation for the start of the school year would be a facelift; which is to paint the classrooms, to have them fresh and looking good, as well as bushing and cutting of the yard," Bernard said.
Formerly Ebenezer Elementary School and Ebenezer All-Age School, the institution has a rich history dating back from 1893 when it was founded by Reverend Henry Ward.
Based in a farming community, the institution has a small school population. "We have been bordering around 60 students with four teachers, myself included," Bernard said. "One teacher is going off on leave. I am hoping that we get a replacement."
Bernard said the school has budgeted $40,000 for the start-up operation. This is expected to purchase stationery and chemicals, among other items. This, she said, would be added to the additional cost for painting and bushing of the school.
Allocation not enough
Bernard disclosed that the Ministry of Education allocates $306.66 per student each term for the teaching and learning process (stationery, teaching aids, etc). She said this figure is not enough.
"I have to get help from past students, friends of the school, members of the church and some of my personal friends," she explained. "Like, for example, if we are going out on a field trip, we would get a bus from the church (Ebenezer United). Printing materials for the student, we would need help for that because that is expensive."
She added: "We get allocation (from the Ministry of Education) for feeding and every student gets a cooked meal every day whether on PATH programme or not. The students are also asked to make a contribution towards the lunch, so we are able to make a turnover in that area."
The principal said schools such as hers can't depend solely on the Education Ministry, but needs partners in order to stay afloat. "Stakeholders need to come in and play a part, from parents, to past students, and that would make things better for us," Bernard said.
She added: "What we are doing now is trying to seek better partnerships. Last school year, a past student came down with books and stationery supplies. We had an overseas mission partnership and they gave us some school supplies as well. They (missionaries) also helped us to put in the shelves in the library."