Mon | Apr 6, 2020

The power of partnerships - Clarendon school forms committee to help solve school-supply shortage

Published:Saturday | February 22, 2020 | 12:06 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Members of the Special Projects Committee, which was formed last year.
Members of the Special Projects Committee, which was formed last year.

The Free Town Primary School in Clarendon was built to accommodate 200 students. However, the institution now has 400 pupils on roll.

This challenge is further compounded by the fact that the designated play area is asphalted, which is hazardous to both students and teachers as they sometimes fall and hurt themselves.

The playing field, located at the back of the school, would have been ideal, except that it has no perimeter fencing and is too close to the road, making it off limits for students unless they are properly supervised.

There are other pressing problems at the school, such as the need for additional classrooms, a library, and a reading room.

Special projects committee

Cognisant of these needs and the fact that the Ministry of Education can only do so much, a special projects committee was formed at the school to see how best the institution could supplement what it was getting from the ministry. The committee comprises principal Denise Moodie, vice-principal Jacqueline Hunter, some teachers, and a member of the office staff.

Moodie said that there are several things at the school that need to be done and that the limited financing received from the ministry can barely take them to the end of the term.

“We realised that we needed to find ways and means to help ourselves, so we formed a special project committee to get some things done,” she said. The school has already completed a project that saw whiteboards being bought and installed in all the classrooms.

With blackboards once serving as partitions for classrooms, the school is thankful that the Digicel Foundation came on board and gave them proper partitions.

The team also has high praises for ‘old faithful’ Amalya Auto Solution, whose owner, it said, is always helpful.

Another benefactor, Dr Bradley Edwards, senior medical doctor at the May Pen Hospital, is always looking for ways to assist the institution, Moodie said.

However, the school still has two pressing needs. One is to reclaim the library that had to be converted into a classroom to accommodate the growing number of students, and the other is for a resource centre.

Moodie told The Gleaner that a parent has donated a container that can be retrofitted and used as the resource centre.

“However, we don’t have the funds to have it delivered, and we will also need to have a base built for it,” she shared.

Looking ahead, Moodie said that it is her hope that there will be partnerships so that the school can realise its goals and the children can learn in a more comfortable environment.