A total of 21,900 pieces of school furniture will be delivered in the next two months as the Ministry of Education and Youth continues to invest in upgrading educational institutions across the island.
Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, provided a breakdown during a post Cabinet press briefing, held at Jamaica House in Kingston, on Wednesday (September 28).
She said 15,500 pieces are desks and chairs for students, as well as 1,600 pieces for teachers. An additional 1,200 pieces of trapezoidal tables and 3,600 chairs are also being made.
They are being manufactured locally by secondary students under the Ministry’s School Furniture Programme.
“This initiative facilitates the manufacture of furniture from scratch under the careful supervision of teachers and, at times, other skilled persons. The furniture is then used by the school, and some are sold to adjoining schools,” the Minister noted.
She said that the Ministry “significantly increased the resources allocated to the programme” for the 2022/23 academic year.
The Minister pointed out that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) examines the quality of the furniture and provides approvals consistent with their standards.
Additionally, in time for the start of the school year, Infant and Primary schools received 6,483 pieces of furniture, while secondary schools were given $800,000 to repair and procure furniture earlier in the year.
“This task requires a multifaceted approach and partnerships involving major stakeholders. We have adopted this partnership approach with some of our schools and it has been working well, so that is why the majority of schools who requested desks and chairs received at least a portion in time for the new school year,” the Minister said.
Schools under the programme include Belmont Academy in Westmoreland; Muschett High and Holland High in Trelawny; Central High and Vere Technical in Clarendon; Ocho Rios High in St Ann; Oracabessa High in St Mary; Port Antonio High in Portland; and St Andrew Technical and Papine High in St Andrew.