Students and staff at nine schools across St Vincent and the Grenadines can look forward to new and improved facilities under a major schools’ improvement project to be supported with US$13.7 million (mn) in funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
On Thursday, December 10, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved CDB’s support of the project which will see two schools – Kingstown Anglican Primary and Sandy Bay Secondary, completely reconstructed and seven others significantly upgraded or rehabilitated. The schools slated for rehabilitation are Barrouallie Anglican Primary, Barrouallie Government Primary, Bequia Community High, Girls’ High School, St Clair Dacon Secondary, St Vincent Grammar School and Thomas Saunders Secondary. More than 6000 students are enrolled at the nine institutions.
The schools will also be outfitted with new and upgraded furniture, equipment and ICT learning resources under the project and there will be capacity building to train teachers and staff to effectively integrate technology in teaching.
In addition, the project provides for temporary facilities for relocation of school operations during the planned infrastructure works.
Division Chief of the Social Sector Division at CDB, Deidre Clarendon, said that upgrading the physical spaces for learning is key to creating an overall improved educational experience.
“By improving these learning spaces, this project will provide a more stimulating and challenging environment for both teachers and students, resulting in higher motivation and productivity in the classroom. The upgrades will also include customisation to support vulnerable learners such as persons with disabilities and to meet the requirements of increasingly diversified modern school curricula,” noted Clarendon.
The funding from CDB comprises a combined loan of €9.03 mn and US$ 3 mn to the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines from the Bank’s Ordinary Capital Resources and Special Funds Resources (SFR) respectively, and a grant of US$15,000 from the SFR. The total cost of the project is US$17.25 million with the remaining funding to come from the government.
The project is aligned with the strategies outlined in CDB’s Education and Training Policy and Strategy 2017, including providing appropriate resources to meet learning needs and gender-responsive infrastructure responding to the needs of male and female students and teachers.
Meanwhile, the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) has conducted soil testing at three of the schools to be impacted by the CDB project.
The Field Percolation tests were carried out at the Sandy Bay Secondary School, St Clair Dacon Secondary School and the Kingstown Anglican School.
The tests were done to determine the water absorption rate of the soil in preparation for the design of a septic drain field.
In addition, soil samples were tested at BRAGSA’s laboratory to determine the type and classification of the soil. The results will be used in the foundation designs of new buildings at the schools.
Similar tests are expected to be carried out at six other schools as part of the Schools Rehabilitation Project.