Best Care Special Education School Could be Expanded

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right), in discussion with Principal of the Best Care Special Education School, Autense France (left), during a tour of the institution in Kingston, on May 4. At centre is Chairman of the Best Care Foundation.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, toured the Best Care Special Education School in Kingston on May 4, to explore the possibility of expanding the school to accommodate more children with intellectual disabilities.
  • The Best Care Foundation operates the school, which caters to children aged six to 20 diagnosed with mild to severe intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • Through its academic and vocational programmes, the children are introduced to skills from an early age, with the goal of preparing them for independence and assisting them to become productive members of society.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid,  toured the Best Care Special Education School in Kingston on May 4, to explore the possibility of expanding the school to accommodate more children with intellectual disabilities.

Senator Reid told JIS News that the activity is part of a larger thrust by the Government to create a clear policy framework that places greater focus on a fully inclusive education sector.

Noting that the tour comes on the heels of the recently concluded Special Education Policy, which is to be rolled out shortly, the Minister said the possible expansion is an example of the Government’s renewed focus on creating more opportunities for the disabled community.

“Under the Charter of Rights, the Government takes responsibility for the education of our children from age three to 18. So, whether they are in special education institutions or mainstream education, we have a responsibility to ensure all children are granted access to quality education,” he said.

The policy, which was drafted by the Ministry’s Special Education Unit, is to be submitted to Cabinet for approval.

Following a series of consultations involving special education stakeholders, as well as other interests, the document will guide the activities of stakeholders involved in special education.

The Best Care Foundation operates the school, which caters to children aged six to 20 diagnosed with mild to severe intellectual and physical disabilities.

Senator Reid commended members of the Foundation for their selfless care for the vulnerable children, adding that the Government welcomes the opportunity to work with these NGOs to ensure that they continue to operate efficiently.

“Having seen the operations, I am reassuring them that the door is open for discussions for the Government to come in and give support to strengthen and sustain their efforts,” he added.

Chairman of the Best Care Foundation, Orville Johnson, said although the children’s home, which is situated on the same premises, is being closed due to serious financial challenges, the expansion project will enable the Foundation to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the children.

“As the Foundation’s mandate is to uplift the disabled community, we are in the process of exploring the feasibility of the expansion of the school… which has, along with its academic programme, a robust vocational programme,” he said.

Through its academic and vocational programmes, the children are introduced to skills from an early age, with the goal of preparing them for independence and assisting them to become productive members of society.

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