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Education Minister Calls on Diaspora to Invest in Infrastructure

Posted: 02.24.2014

Education Minister Calls on Diaspora to Invest in Infrastructure


Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has called on the Jamaica Diaspora groups to explore investing in education infrastructure, through public-private partnerships.

“We fully understand the need for investments and this is a reasonable business proposition. I challenge the Diaspora and the financial agencies in Jamaica to move forward in this direction,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites was delivering the main address at the opening of the Jamaica Diaspora Education Summit, on February 18, at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.

The  summit, being attended by 50 Diaspora delegates from across the world as well as other representatives from various sectors of the Jamaican society, is being held from February 18 to 21 under the theme: ‘Advancing education initiative: a strategic alliance with the Diaspora’.

Citing the new thrust in education, the Minister informed that plans are being made to take many schools off the current shift system as this is “robbing” students of valuable instructional hours.

“We are now seeking to build the necessary infrastructure on to the existing schools, wherever possible, so that they can accommodate the numbers without that system.  In reality, we cannot afford to build many new schools (that are needed) now,” Rev. Thwaites said.

He commended the Diaspora for its record of interest and “solid” support for education. “Jamaica’s Diaspora has long taken an interest in shaping education in their homeland. They, perhaps more than any other civic groups, have been acutely aware of education’s value as a pathway to social mobility, individual progress and national development,” the Minister argued.

Rev. Thwaites emphasized that the Diaspora summit is a grand opportunity to develop the relationship between themselves and the leaders of the Jamaican education system, build on mutual interests and translate these into policy.

“It is for this reason that the National Education Trust (NET) has been set up and is regarded as the main vehicle for educational infrastructural advancement to take place. This is an arm of the Ministry which oversees the renovations and upgrading of school properties and serves to facilitate these partnerships,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, member of the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board, Leo Gilling, said the summit allows the group to take a more microscopic look at the education system in Jamaica.

“The Diaspora needs to arrive at a consensus on a proposal to be submitted for an education project to assist our homeland to attain the goals of Vision 2030 Jamaica. Delegates at the summit will want to extract information for needs analysis; to identify gaps and challenges, and to see how, as a group, we can move towards this vision,” he said.


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