Fri | Feb 22, 2019

Two schools receive buses from Japan

Published:Wednesday | January 23, 2019 | 12:48 AM

The Embassy of Japan has signed two grant contracts amounting to $16 million to purchase two school buses, one each, for Lyssons Primary and New Forest Infant, Primary and High schools.

Each school will receive $8 million in grant funding from the government of Japan, through its Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), to purchase the buses.

Signing the contracts yesterday at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, National Heroes Circle in Kingston, were permanent secretary in the Ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard; Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki; principal of Lyssons Primary, Evette Bonfield Beecher, and ­principal of New Forest Infant, Primary and High School, Sharon Anderson.

The schools currently do not have a school bus to support their activities. In addition, transportation, particularly in rural areas, continues to be a safety risk for children, and the Japan-funded school bus initiative is intended to provide safe and reliable transportation to and from school for children.

In his remarks, Bernard thanked the government of Japan for its generosity, which he said would assist students in the rural parishes who experience ­difficulty getting to school.

CHALLENGE TO EDUCATION

He noted that more than 7,200 students from 261 schools across 12 rural parishes benefited from the ministry’s Expanded Pilot Rural Transportation Programme and that the assistance rendered by Japan would enable more ­students with ­transportation challenges to access education.

“Transportation is one of the impediments to learning in this country. This is a welcome initiative. The funds for these additional buses to Lyssons and the New Forest group of schools mean more ­students will benefit. Today’s (yesterday’s) agreements ­require the commitment of all stakeholders at the school, community and national levels to see that the investment in these schools leads to better ­educational outcomes for our children,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Yamazaki said the initiative was part of the ongoing cooperation and friendship between the people of Japan and Jamaica.

“I am pleased that we are able to extend our ­assistance in order to alleviate the transportation woes that students, both in St Thomas and Manchester, face. This signing ceremony indicates genuine commitment by the government of Japan to assist Jamaica to further enhance education for its young citizens, who can fulfil their dream of a better tomorrow with hope,” he said.

The initiative is being undertaken through ­collaboration between the National Education Trust (NET) and the Embassy of Japan.

Since 2015, the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica and the NET have been collaborating on education-­development projects. This partnership is aimed at meeting primary-education needs at schools in ­greatest need of assistance under the GGP.

Through this programme, Japan offers financial assistance for development projects designed to meet the diverse needs of developing countries.

The initiative is part of a holistic safety and ­security initiative being spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to transform schools and their immediate surroundings into safe zones in an effort to ensure a quality education ­system within Jamaica.