The minister challenged the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association, to provide a total of one thousand school buses over the next five years.
The Minister told members of the UJAA Executive at a breakfast meeting at the Kimberly Hotel in Manhattan, on Sunday, that the Ministry of Education would match the donation by the Alumni Association with the provision of a thousand buses over the next five years.
The Minister who was accompanied at the meeting by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks, Consul General Trudy Deans and his Adviser Sharon Hay-Webster, said he was determined to develop a proper school transportation islandwide.
In that regard, Ambassador Marks gave her assurance that she would work with the Alumni Association to develop an “Adopt a School Bus Programme,” which would go towards the national programme.
Senator Reid pointed out that students in rural Jamaica were experiencing grave hardships, as parents could not afford the kind of bus fares that students were being asked to pay. This resulted in students not reaching school in time, and poor academic performance by students.
He emphasized that the level of subsidy being enjoyed by students in the corporate area who use the JUTC buses would be the same for rural students when the islandwide service comes on stream.
Turning to the shift system, the Minister said there was 47 high schools that were still on the shift system and the government needed some 13-billion dollars to construct 17 new schools that would take the island of the shift system completely.
He pointed out that five schools needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency as they were bursting at the seams. These include Old Harbour High, St. Ocho Rios and Browns Town High schools as well as one school in Montego Bay and another in Manchester.
Minister Reid lauded the Alumni Association for their consistent contribution to the island’s education system over the years, noting that their contribution had assisted many students as well as various institutions for which he as minister and the government were eternally grateful.
- Countries: Jamaica