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Mile Gully High gets new attitude

Published:Friday | May 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dr Renée Rattray, programmes director of Centres of Excellence, speaking at the town-hall meeting in Mile Gully. - Dave Lindo

Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer

Mile Gully High School is undergoing a major transformation with significant improvements seen among students, members of staff and its administrators.

This positive change is said to have come about through the institution's participation in the Centres of Excellence (CoE) programme which was introduced by the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF).

This revelation was disclosed at a town-hall meeting which was held at Mile Gully High, in Mile Gully, Manchester, on Monday, which had members of staff, parents, students and administrators of the CoE interacting.

It also had in attendance Mikael Phillips, member of parliament for North West Manchester, and other residents of Mile Gully.

High-Quality Education

The MBSF is a non-profit organisation established in 2008 which came about as a joining of forces of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS). Its impetus is to provide high-quality education to students in rural Jamaica, focusing on the enhancement of administrative, academic and student performance in a five-year plan.

The CoE was implemented in high schools across rural Jamaica - McGrath, St Catherine; Godfrey Stewart, Westmoreland; Green Pond, St James; Seaforth, St Thomas; Porus and Mile Gully in Manchester .

The schools through the CoE programme are said to have benefited from J$100 million in technical assistance and equipment to improve organisational efficiency, teacher quality and student achievement.

Programmes Director Dr Renée Rattray was pleased with the positive transformation at Mile Gully. "There has been tremendous progress at Mile Gully and at all our schools in the Centres of Excellence (programme)," Rattray said. "For one, the expectations have increased tremendously, students are feeling great among themselves. Students (sitting Grade Six Achievement Test) are choosing Mile Gully as one of their first schools of choice. That never used to happen."

Rattray added: "Generally, there is a different energy and zeal about the people concerned, the community has come on board and parents play an active part. We also want to get the alumni going again."

Mikael Philips, commenting on the project, said: "No matter how we can fix the macroeconomic side of our country, if we don't fix our education and education structures then we will be perpetually going around in circles in trying to fix our country."Phillips commended JNBS and VMBS for their effort in improving education in Jamaica.

An enthused Ulit Bracket, principal of Mile Gully High, said: "Mile Gully is going to be one of the best schools in the island. We are committed to the vision. In another two to three years, we will be way up the ladder because we have set the foundation for this little school to be one of the greatest schools in this parish."