Union Gardens Opens to Much Fanfare

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Mrs. Pauline Stapleton Griffiths, Principal of Union Gardens Infant School, and Hon. Glen Christian, Chairman of the Union Gardens Foundation welcome Minister of Education, Hon. Ronald Thwaites. The occasion was the official opening ceremony on January 13.

The Union Gardens Infant School was officially declared open by Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller and Minister of Education, Hon. Ronald Thwaites. The school, which has a capacity to accommodate 150 students between ages 3 ½ to 5 years, was constructed at a cost of $174M through a public-private sector partnership spearheaded by the Union Gardens Foundation.
Addressing the event, the Minister of Education commended the joint initiative and gave his Ministry’s commitment to providing trained teachers, monitoring the curriculum and maintaining standards.
Chairman of the Union Gardens Foundation, Hon. Glen Christian, said the merger concept was one of the quickest ways of improving delivery of education to children now in the basic school system, many of which are under-resourced, with no trained teachers.

He noted “I commend the work of the Ministry of Education, through the Early Childhood Commission, for making valiant efforts to regulate standards in this industry of over 2000 early childhood institutions. However, with all the goodwill in the world, the fact is that the country’s children are very poorly served by the basic school system and a great number of them will never meet ECC requirements so I believe the merged schools concept is the most efficient way of addressing this issue in a relatively short period of time.”
A highlight of the event was the formal handover of a 30 seater coaster bus by Stewart Industrial to transport students to and from school free of cost.

The project was supported by the following organizations:
The Cari-Med/Kirk Distributors Foundation; The CHASE Fund; National Baking Company Foundation;
Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF)/EU Poverty Reduction Programme ; the Seprod & Musson foundations ; Sandals Foundation; Stewart Industrial ; Kingston Wharves Limited; The Tank-Weld Group;
Delta Supply Company Limited; Jamaica National Building Society; Advanced Integrated Systems Ltd.
Corrpak Jamaica Limited; General Accident Insurance Company Jamaica Limited; Food for the Poor Jamaica ; Courts Jamaica; The Gleaner Company Limited; JPS Foundation; National Water Commission; and PROVEN Management Limited.

The state of the art school, located off the Spanish Town Road, was constructed by the Union Gardens Foundation at a cost of $174M raised from a broad coalition of private sector and state funded organizations. Sponsoring agencies included The Cari-Med/Kirk Distributors Foundation ; The CHASE Fund; National Baking Company Foundation ; Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF); the Seprod & Musson foundations ; Sandals Foundation; Stewart Industrial ; Kingston Wharves Limited; The Tank-Weld Group; Delta Supply Company Limited; Jamaica National Building Society; Advanced Integrated Systems Ltd. Corrpak Jamaica Limited; General Accident Insurance Company Jamaica Limited; Food for the Poor Jamaica ; Courts Jamaica; The Gleaner Company Limited; JPS Foundation; National Water Commission; and PROVEN Management Limited.

 

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