Sandals Foundation & CHASE Fund partner to build Negril School
December 6, 2017 (Negril, Westmoreland): 160 children between the ages of 3-6 from Negril and neighboring communities now have a brand new school to attend thanks to an innovative public-private partnership between the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information (MOE) and major donors, the Sandals Foundation and CHASE Fund.
Built in less than 12 months, the West End Infant School was officially opened today (December 6, 2017) at a ceremony attended by Minister of Education, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, Deputy Chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts Adam Stewart and CHASE CEO Billy Heaven as well as numerous leaders of the Negril community, teachers, parents and friends of the project.
The school was built at a cost of J$111,070,506 by the Sandals Foundation and the CHASE Fund to the highest Early Childhood Commission standards. It comprises eight classrooms with adjacent resource rooms and bathrooms; a spacious kitchen and eating/recreation indoor area; and a staffroom, sick bay and principal’s office as well as a large garden and modern playground. The playground and all of the furniture and educational resources were donated by School Specialty, a major US supplier of school equipment and longtime partner of the Sandals Foundation.
“Sandals Foundation is all about investing in Jamaican and Caribbean communities and so we were happy to work with the Ministry to address the need for a new school in this region,” said Sandals CEO and President of the Board of Sandals Foundation, Adam Stewart. “We want to thank our partners CHASE and School Specialty for their generous support today, as we dedicate this beautiful school to the children of Negril.”
CHASE Fund’s CEO, Billy Heaven, also expressed his enthusiasm about partnering with Sandals Foundation on this crucial project and highlighted the importance of investing in early childhood education. “The CHASE Fund has focused its attention on early childhood education, guided by the knowledge that investing in this area will eventually yield high economic and social returns to the country.”
The building of West End Infant School is a MOE endorsed project which addresses the issue of upgrades to infrastructure, adequate space and the safety of children in classrooms, as well as, the need for improved pedagogical skills among the region’s teachers. The school will provide the opportunity for children ages 4-5 in and around that community to access quality early childhood education in a supportive learning environment.
Sandals Foundation’s Executive Director Heidi Clarke, in her address reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to supporting educational projects. “Like CHASE, the Sandals Foundation recognizes the importance of investing in early childhood education. We know that between the ages of 3-6 young children are developing socially, intellectually, emotionally and physically, making this one of the most critical stages where the best care and the right learning environment will set the stage for future success.”
This donation by the Sandals Foundation is part of the Foundation’s longstanding focus on improving education in Jamaica and across the Caribbean islands in which Sandals operates through school upgrades, teacher training, enrichment programmes, book and school supply distribution as well as secondary and tertiary scholarship opportunities. To date, over 300 schools and 129,000 students in the region have been impacted by initiatives supported by the Sandals Foundation.