UDP gets more School Buildings for the Toledo District Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 04 October 2012 00:00

Official ribbon cutting ceremonyOn Saturday, September 29th, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Patrick Faber, travelled to a very small village in the Toledo District to officially inaugurate a new school building. Sunday Wood Village was established in 1984 by Ketchi Mayas and has a population of approximately 358 people. Most of the villagers depend on subsistence farming. Their main crop is rice, which is sold at the Rice Mill in Big Falls. The farmers also cultivate beans and corn for family use.

The children of Sunday Wood Village attend Sunday Wood Roman Catholic School. Sunday Wood RC School is a multi-grade school and has an enrollment of 107 students and 21 pre-school children. Prior to the project, the school had one main concrete building, that housed Infant 2 and Standards 1 & 2. The wooden building which housed Standards 3, 4, 5 and 6 was in a poor condition.  It had no ceiling and was uncomfortable in both the dry and rainy seasons. The dilapidated roof caused children to get wet and increased the risk of illness. A thatch roof building, which houses the pre-school and Infant 1, is also in poor condition and efforts are being made by the school management to address this situation.

The inauguration is an important one for Minister Faber, who has focused a great deal of the Ministry’s resources on increasing education opportunities and improving educational experiences in the South. Speaking to Minister Faber, he explained that it is the government's goal to ensure that more educational opportunities are extended to those areas where it has been lacking in the past. He added, that in the southern part of the country, there is also additional focus to ensure that there are enough secondary schools to accommodate students leaving primary school. In fact, the new school buildings inaugurated over the weekend were as a result of direct lobbying efforts by former area UDP representative Eden Martinez.

The Sunday Wood Roman Catholic School project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, at a total cost of $438,000 and was financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. The project included the construction of a one story reinforced-concrete building 25ft wide by 120 ft long including a 6ft verandah. The works included construction of three (25 ft x 30 ft ) classrooms with two movable partitions, a male and female  bathroom block and a principal’s office. The building is equipped with hurricane storm guard aluminum windows, solid panel doors, security grills, ceiling fans and a solar panel system, with a manual transfer switch, which provides electricity to the building.  Furniture including teachers’ desks and chairs, black boards, cupboards, book shelves and students arm chairs were also provided as part of the project.  The building will be used as a shelter in the event of an emergency. The building was designed for a second storey in anticipation of future expansion.

The Social Investment Fund also completed the renovation of the Golden Stream Government Primary School building.   The project consisted of the rehabilitation of two-ferro concrete school buildings and a small library building.  The project was funded by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) 6th Programme at a total cost of $54,000. It has significantly improved the learning environment for the children of Golden Stream Village in the Toledo District. Golden Stream Village is approximately 25 miles north east from Punta Gorda Town.  The village lies along the Southern Highway near the Mayan Site of Nim Li Punit.  The community was established in the late 1970s by Ketchi and Mopan Mayas, who departed from areas like San Antonio, San Jose, Big Falls and Crique Jute in search of more fertile lands for their crops.