JIS News

A total of 1,374 early childhood institutions of an estimated 2,800, have been inspected by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) since the process started in November 2007, with 131 permits to operate issued.
Communications Manager at the ECC, Marsha Grant, speaking at a Think Tank held at the Jamaica Information Service’s head office in Kingston yesterday (January 26), said that inspections will continue until all ECI’s have been examined.
“We are asking persons, the minute they start to think about opening an early childhood institution, to come to the ECC and get an application package. We will give you a booklet, which will outline the measures you need to put in place,” she informed, noting that all institutions will be inspected upon application.
She said that effective January 1 the ECC has started inspections of all institutions whether or not all the documents were submitted with the application for registration.
“We must note that these institutions, even though they will be inspected, will not be given a Certificate of Registration or a Permit to Operate until all their outstanding documents are submitted,” Miss Grant noted.
She informed that the ECC has received a total of 2,459 applications for registration.
“There is an outstanding number of a little over 300 and we are imploring those institutions to come in and start the registration process. Even if they do not have all their documents we are asking them to come in, fill out an application and let us know that they exist so they can be inspected,” she implored.
Miss Grant said that the ECC does not intend to shut down any institution that is not yet up to standard.
“A great fear we have encountered is that persons think we are there to shut them down the minute we go in and inspect and they are not up to standard. However, that is not the situation. When we go in to inspect, what we are really doing is looking at the 12 standards that the government has put in place. We will be working with the institutions and give them time to implement the changes needed and upgrade,” Miss Grant stated.
The 12 standards for operation to which early childhood institutions must adhere relate to: staffing; development and educational programmes; interaction and relationship with children; physical environment; indoor and outdoor equipment, furniture and supplies; health; nutrition; safety; child rights, including protection and equality; interaction with community members; and administration and finance.
The ECC’s Communication Manager further added that after the institutions have been inspected, the ECC will assist the operators to formulate a development plan, which will detail everything that is lacking and how they can go through a systematic process to upgrade that service.