Creating more room to learn at Mandeville Primary School in Jamaica

In the overcrowded classrooms at Mandeville Primary School in Jamaica, it is hard for students to concentrate. While the school’s administration has worked hard to provide a challenging environment for students, the school’s facilities are simply no longer able to meet the needs of the more than 2,000 children. For teachers, the classroom comes with its share of challenges, too. The ratio of children to instructors is a staggering 46:1 and teacher resources are inadequate.

But a story of change is in the works for the primary school, where an expansion and rehabilitation project was launched in November. It is a collaboration between the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). The aim is to transform the learning environment for students who count on Mandeville Primary School for a solid educational foundation.


Mandeville Primary School in Jamaica
Mandeville Primary School in Jamaica will benefit from an expansion and rehabilitation project, being funded by CDB’s Basic Needs Trust Fund and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.


With a grant of USD570,000, the school will be outfitted with new bathrooms; ramps to better serve students with disabilities; a new fence and gate; safety equipment; and student and teacher furniture.

The End of the Shift System

Expansion will also involve the construction of 12 new classroom buildings, which addresses the chronic shortage of classroom space at Mandeville Primary School. This new addition will also signal the end of the shift system—an approach introduced to tackle the challenge of dwindling classroom spaces, compared to student enrollment. At the school, students have had to make do with limited contact hours in the classroom.

Inadequate learning spaces aren’t the only challenge. Sanitation is also lacking, with just one bathroom for every 70 students in any given shift. For students with physical challenges, a trip to the restroom could be an ordeal, since the sanitation blocks are not equipped to accommodate their needs. This lack of accessibility also extends to the wider campus, and limits enrollment options for students who are physically challenged.


Site identified for expansion of Mandeville Primary School
Soon new buildings will be constructed in this open area, signalling the end of overcrowding and the shift system at Mandeville Primary School.


This intervention supports the Government of Jamaica’s efforts to reduce the use of the shift system by improving the physical facilities at schools, while providing an enabling learning environment. In addition, it will be welcomed by students who have gone without a quality basic education for far too long and for teachers, who don’t have access to the tools and space they need to deliver one.

A Change for the Community

The Mandeville Primary School Expansion and Rehabilitation is planned for completion in mid-2016. Not only will it benefit students and teachers but it will also bring positive changes to the neighboring community. Grappling with unemployment driven by a downturn in the bauxite industry and a loss of livelihood, the planned enhancements at the primary school will help them tackle the challenges that the shift system and an inadequate learning environment can have on family life.

Mandeville the First of Six

The Mandeville Primary School Expansion and Rehabilitation is one of six initiatives in a portfolio of Education and Human Resources Development investments planned by BNTF under its seventh programme.


Christiana Moravian Primary School in Jamaica
Children at the Christiana Moravian Primary School, which is one of the schools earmarked for expansion and rehabilitation through the Caribbean Development Bank’s Basic Needs Trust Fund.


These include:

  • Browns Hall Primary Rehabilitation, Fencing and Sanitation
  • Christiana Moravian Primary School Expansion & Rehabilitation
  • Discovery Bay All Age Expansion and Rehabilitation
  • Ocho Rios Expansion and Rehabilitation
  • Old Harbour Primary School Expansion and Rehabilitation

Students at Mandeville Primary School in Jamaica
Students at Mandeville Primary will benefit from an expanded and rehabilitated school, including 12 new classroom buildings, bathrooms and furniture, and safety equipment.
Photo Credit: Mandeville Primary School


CDB, through BNTF’s seventh cycle (BNTF 7), has committed USD3.8million in funding to help improve education outcomes in Jamaica. The overall BNTF 7 allocation for Jamaica was approved in October 2012 and totals USD7.85 million. An additional amount of USD1.92 million was approved under BNTF 8 in December 2014.  Some of this funding will go to other education and human resource development initiatives during 2015 and 2016.

The BNTF Programme contributes to the reduction of poverty in targeted communities through the provision of basic infrastructure and livelihood enhancement services.  BNTF funding is provided to support such interventions in 10 participating countries with Grant financing mainly from the Special Development Fund (Unified) of CDB and counterpart financing from participating Governments. 

Read more about BNTF

Explore more Stories of Change from BNTF interventions