PM Launches Education Task Force


Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has named a fourteen-member Task Force to conduct a review and initiate a transformation of the country’s education sector.
The Task Force which was launched at Jamaica House on Thursday, February 5, will be chaired by Dr. the Hon. Rae Davis, Principal of the University of Technology and includes two student representatives from the National Students’ Council.
Mr. Patterson said the decision to carry out a review of all education initiatives comes against the background of his own passionate belief in the value of education as a tool for social mobility and economic empowerment, and was further motivated by unanimous Parliamentary Resolution passed in the House of Representatives last year.
“It was defining moment when the vision of a prosperous Jamaica in which all our people are empowered to recognise their full potential superseded political consideration,” Mr. Patterson said.
The ten items in the Terms of Reference of the Task Force includes assessing the performance of the sector based on objectives outlined in Ministry Paper No. 6/2001 “Education: The Way Upward – A Path for Jamaica’s Education”, and to suggest changes that might be necessary to achieve the strategic objectives, targets and timetable outlined in the white paper. The Task Force is also expected to recommend specific measures which will result in the strategic transformation of education in Jamaica to fulfil the Mission Statement outlined in the Jamaica Social Policy Framework and Plan of Action presented to Parliament in 2002.
The Task Force is also required to prepare and present an action plan consistent with the creation of a world class education system geared toward generating human capital and producing the skills required for competing successfully in the global economy, taking into account the benefit to be derived from the application of modern technology. It is also expected to evaluate and make concrete recommendations on the structure, organisation and staffing of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, in order to ensure its effectiveness in the discharge of its central responsibilities.
Other aspects of the Terms of Reference relate to proposals for financing of education at all levels, recommending changes in the role and functions of existing bodies including the National Council on Education, Education Officers and School Boards and an examination of the changes that maybe necessary in the Education Act and Code of Order to achieve accountability, meet required standards and provide incentives so as to realise the defined objectives.
Noting that system could not be perfected overnight, Mr. Patterson said what was needed was a commitment from all stakeholders, to work towards one vision and one goal. The Prime Minister said he expects the full commitment of the Ministers and Officers within the Government in making available all the requisite information requested by the Task Force. “I also expect the Leader of the Opposition and his team to give the Task Force the benefit of their views,” The Prime Minister added.
He said the Review and Transformation Process were not to suggest that nothing positive was taking place in education, but that the process should involve the entire society including Jamaicans living overseas.
The Task Force is expected to make its report in time for the changes to be effected as early as September this year.
The other members of the Task Force are: Mrs. Elaine Foster-Allen, Mrs. Pamela Harrison, Mr. Eric Crawford, Miss Joan Spencer, Dr. Dennis Minott, Miss Joan Tucker, Mr. Nigel Clarke, Mr. Lloyd Goodleigh, Revd. Franklyn Jackson, Mr. Wentworth Gabbidon, President, JTA; Mr. Donald Hall and Miss Tricia Wildman, National Students’ Council Representatives and Mrs. Marie Hitchins, PSOJ Education Committee.

JIS Social