Dinthill Technical gets $500,000 for container to address space issues
BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
HELP is trickling in for Dinthill Technical High School.
Last week, the institution appealed for assistance to provide classroom space for 105 students. Yesterday, Tej Banhan, managing director of K-Ban Hardware in Linstead, St Catherine, donated $500,000 to the school to purchase the first of 12 containers that the institution is seeking to retrofit into classrooms.
The Jamaica Observer, in an article titled “105 students without classroom”, published on August 21, highlighted that the school needed help securing the containers in order to provide temporary classroom space for students who were sent to the institution by the Ministry of Education after it had already accepted the first batch of Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) students that it could accommodate.
Banhan, speaking at a handing-over ceremony at the school yesterday, said after learning of the school’s plight in the newspaper, he quickly met with his team to see how best they could assist.
“I thought that it was really a tough situation and can you imagine that as a student, that you are given an opportunity to get an education but that it might just be taken away because of the shortage of facilities.
“I feel like everybody deserves a chance so this is us trying to reach out to say, ‘Let us give them the opportunity’. I know it (the donation) is not going to go the entire way, but we hope that when people hear of this they will be inspired to come out and give assistance,” Banhan said.
He also promised the school’s executive that his company will be working to deepen the partnership with the institution and that he has already reached out to others to come on-board to support.
Already, Banhan said another company has promised to provide fans for the retrofitted classroom. He said, too, that he will be reaching out to associates to help with the provision of air-conditioning units, which the school has indicated it will also need.
“I am not a past student of this school, but I am a member of the community and, really and truly, it’s the community that creates everything. It’s the community why we exist and are able to employ people and support our family so we are just the facilitator; so we want to give back in any way that we can and we have always done things in the community, but nothing as extensive as this. But, as we have been able to grow, we are able to take on bigger projects and give back even more,” Banhan said.
The school’s principal, Lloyd Fearon, in response, expressed gratitude to the company on behalf of the school community for its donation and the renewal of a partnership.
“We thank you for the contribution and we know that this start that you have made will be the start that propels others to get on-board to be a part of Dinthill,” he said.
Vice-principal Monica White, who had first raised the issue of the lack of classroom space, said since the article she has been flooded with calls from people who have expressed an interest in helping although they have not yet concretised in what ways they will be helping, but she is hopeful.
She also stated that a proposal is being done for tender to the Ministry of Education, which has also promised to renovate and transform an old bathroom on the compound into a classroom.
But when asked if the classrooms would be ready for the start of school on Monday, she said: “The classrooms won’t be. Right now I am a little bit hesitant [as to] when our children will start school, but we will be doing a phase-in orientation, so teaching won’t start until the 11th when we have done our orientation and so we are hoping by then to have some classrooms ready.”
Meanwhile communication manager at the National Water Commission, Charles Buchanan, told the Observer that the commission is in the process of donating a container to the school.
“The issue, someone brought it to our attention and it’s not unusual for the commission to assist where there is a social need, and in this case where it’s a school which is contributing so much to our youth, it wasn’t difficult for the commission to see it as something to be associated with,” he said.