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Jan 27, 2016

35 New Schools Will Be Created

Patrick Faber

Over the years, the Ministry of Education has amalgamated several schools across the country, but now it is moving toward the construction of thirty-five new schools. And with that, also comes the issue of administrative budget for the faculty and staff as well as operations.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“What we’ve always maintained is that amalgamation is not necessarily geared towards only cutting the number of schools. It is to put good quality proper schools in areas of the country where there is the need. And so we continue to urge the existing schools that may are serving in an area where there is an abundance of opportunities—like a village that has three or four schools, but only has the population for one school. We urge them to come together. We are looking at these areas where there is an under service in terms of the education services to the students who are in need. And that is where we are putting the schools. So it all works well together. I did not say that these schools will be operated by the government. The schools will be built on government land and that the infrastructure will be the property of the government, but that we are wide open to engage our church partners in forming management agreements for some of these schools where it is identified that this is possible. There might be some areas where we might well say government management of this school is best and we will do that. But we are not in any way breaking up the church state system.”

 

Reporter

“Building the schools is one thing, but operating the schools is another. The Ministry of Education already takes an inordinate chunk of the national budgetary expenditure. Would then the administrative cost increase in taking on all these new assets and having to manage the infrastructure at least?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Well no doubt about that and we never shy away from the fact that education is expensive. You are right; we do get a significant chunk of the national budget, more than a quarter of the national budget to be specific. But we are not necessarily clamoring for more; in fact, if you’ve studied what I’ve always held, we are looking at being more efficient with what is given to us. And if you look at the measures that are being operated in our ministry, we are trying to get a bigger bang out of the buck. These will be state-of-the-art facilities that is not a full guarantee for quality education, but is a step in the forward direction. And if you marry that to all the other initiatives that we are doing in the industry that are homegrown; aiming at improving quality—like the one that I will be discussing next Wednesday—you will see that good quality infrastructure, along with good quality instruction in the classroom, good quality managing of these schools, good quality oversight by the Ministry of Education. It is a win-win situation for all those who are involved.”

 

The loan motion has already been passed in the House of Representatives and the final details on design and location of the schools will be finalized.

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