Early Childhood Institutions get Graduate Teachers


More than 200 graduate teachers have so far been placed in the island’s basic schools, as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, steps up its programme to put at least one graduate teacher in each early childhood institution. There are approximately 2,000 institutions offering early childhood education in Jamaica.
Minister of State for Education, Dr. Donald Rhodd, gave this update on Wednesday (March 17) while addressing a Government of Jamaica (GOJ)/Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) financed Enhancement of Basic Schools Project sensitisation forum, at the Catholic Church Hall, in Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland.
He said that the placement of specially qualified teachers in the early childhood institutions was being done under “an integrated approach to learning”. This involves the upgrading of the skills of teachers and caregivers in the early childhood institutions, he added.
Dr. Rhodd told participants at the forum that more than 5,000 caregivers were certified, through a programme administered by HEART/NTA in conjunction with the NCTVET programme.
“They have completed level one, and I am told that another 60 are going on to level two. I have also been told that over 200 teachers (graduate teachers) have completed training and certification with the programme, and have been placed in early childhood institutions,” he said.
The State Minister for Education pointed out that the schools with a population of 100 or more students should be top on the list to receive these specially trained teachers. He said that with the approximately 2000 schools to be serviced, the training process should continue swiftly.
Dr. Rhodd affirmed the government’s commitment to early childhood development, stating that as a signatory to several international agreements on early childhood development issues, it was aiming to translate children’s needs into children’s rights.
Increasingly high quality early childhood development is being recognised as the foundation for life long learning, with implications in the long run for adult employment and economic productivity, he said.
He said that the ultimate aim of the government was to have 100 per cent access to an early childhood institution for every child in the age cohort three to five years old.
The aim of the Enhancement of Basic Schools project is to enhance the quality of learning and development of the zero to six years old age cohort, through the improvement in the coverage and service delivery of the early childhood programme. The project, which has been in existence for a year, is a three and a half year programme, and its outputs will include development of model learning environments, providing for 23 new and upgraded basic schools and resource centres across the island.

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