Education Minister Jennifer Smith with Health Minister Zane DeSilva. * Photo by Kageaki Smith
Education Minister Jennifer Smith with Health Minister Zane DeSilva. * Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1: Businesses are being encouraged to adopt a government school to help repair, paint and carry out maintenance work.

Education Minister Dame Jennifer Smith launched the initiative today and announced there are already four private partners attached to the project.

The ‘adopt a school’ project will give schools up to $10,000 per school, per year.

Health Minister Zane DeSilva and his wife Joanne of Island Construction have adopted Heron Bay Primary School.

Jim Kerwin of Oxford Communications and Rock Media has adopted Francis Patton and Harrington Sound.

Former Premier Ewart Brown of Bermuda Health Services and Brown-Darrell Clinic has adopted Victor Scott Primary and Harrington Sound Primary.

Gerald Burt and his son Senator David Burt of Burt Construction have adopted Northlands Primary School.

Dame Jennifer said: “I have to single out Minister DeSilva because shortly after assuming the post of Minister of Education, he offered to help in any way he could.

“When I told him about my plan to ask construction companies to adopt a school, he immediately offered the services of Island Construction.”

She continued: “Principals and teachers are intimately aware of the difficulty encountered in making schools physically ready each year.

Sometimes a small problem unattended becomes a larger problem all because we have aging facilities with no current means of responding to their maintenance issues on a timely basis.

“It was this situation that sparked the ‘adopt a school’ programme. I chose to focus on primary schools because they lay the foundation for other learning and because they are generally the older facilities.”

Dame Jennifer said the programme will be extended beyond construction companies to individuals, businesses and organisations who want to give in-kind donations.

“This would include offers to paint and repair, offers of plumbing, electrical or carpentry services and offers of landscaping services”, she added.

Anyone interested in adopting a school should contact the Ministry of Education.