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Big bucks for rural schools

Published:Saturday | July 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM

JSIF signs $160 million contract for improvement of several institutions

Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer

Nine Schools from rural Jamaica are to benefit from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) $160 million contract signing that took place yesterday at the Ministry of Education, National Heroes Circle, Kingston.

The signing was done by JSIF, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, and the members of parliament of the nine schools located in parts of South Eastern St Elizabeth, South Trelawny and Central Clarendon.

Scarlette Gillings, the managing director of JSIF, said that the money would go towards the expansion and rehabilitation work on the nine schools. The aim is to complete the work before the new school year.

"Education represents the sector we support the most. Approximately 45 per cent of the JSIF budget goes in education," noted Gillings.

The rural schools that will see improvement in their infrastructure for the upcoming school year are Clarence Brimm Basic (expansion and rehabilitation) valued at $27.5 million; Dutch Hill Basic (expansion and rehabilitation) $19.3 million; the construction of the Ulster Spring Basic at $22.7 million; Raymoth Notice Basic (expansion and rehabilitation) $12.7 million; Austin Primary (rehabilitation) $16.059 million, Bethlehem All Age Infant (rehabilitation) $10 million; Aberdeen Primary and Junior High (rehabilitation) $18.3 million; Glendevon Primary and Junior High (rehabilitation) $8.076 million, and the May Pen School of Special Education for Children with Intellectual Disabilities (design and construction of classroom block) $25.86 million.

$5 billion spent on SCHOOLS

Gillings also shared that up to December of last year, JSIF has invested $5 billion in 544 schools, of which 227 are early-childhood facilities.

Yesterday's signing highlighted the partnership with JSIF and the Caribbean Development Bank, through its community development programme aimed at improving infrastructure in education, health and transport in rural communities throughout Jamaica.