Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Poor sanitation and transportation issues alleviated at primary schools

Published:Friday | February 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

A joint grant by the Japanese government valued at $10 million was not a want, but a dire need.

That is how Veronica Gaynor, principal of the Iris Gelly Primary School in Kingston, described the donation which she received recently at the Ministry of Education's offices in downtown Kingston, as she explained the challenges that students have to endure on a daily basis due to inadequate water supply, which then results in poor sanitation.

Iris Gelly Primary received $2 million to improve its rainwater harvesting system, while the Buff Bay Primary School in Portland got $8 million to aid with better transportation for students.

"We have always had problems with our water supply, so much so that sometimes we have had to close school after receiving permission from the board because there is no water. We might secure water for drinking, but the bathroom is intolerable because no flushing can take place," she said.




"Then there was the issue with my auxiliary staff. They had to be carrying water from very far, so this means a lot to us in terms of sanitation and in terms of potable water. Children were sitting in class with their throats dry because there is no water."

It was a different need for the Buff Bay Primary School, but principal Karl Coke was equally grateful for the assistance, pointing out that students and parents at the institution will have less to worry about in terms of transportation.

"This is a very significant contribution to the school, because we are in the rural part of Jamaica and the terrain is very poor. Students have difficulties coming to school and going back home because of transportation problems," he said.

"This means a lot to us in terms of students reaching school on time and getting home in the evenings. It also assists with our programmes at the school, because we take part in extra-curricular activities and we know what it is like in the rural communities to get transportation to go to a football game, for example, and it is also costly."