Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, says an additional 300 trained teachers will be placed in early childhood institutions across the island during the upcoming 2012/13 academic year.
Speaking to journalists during a press briefing at Jamaica House, on July 23, Mr. Thwaites said the move is in an effort to improve the standard of education in these facilities.
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"One of the major shortcomings of early childhood institutions is the absence of trained teachers. These teachers are in training now among a cohort of some 8,000 teachers who are presently engaged in upgrading their skills," the Minister said.
The 8,000 teachers are being trained in several teachers' colleges across the island in areas of early childhood education, numeracy, literacy, special education, health and family life education, civics and the teachings of Garveyism in schools.
Rev. Thwaites said the training of teachers is a critical ingredient in the Ministry's efforts to transform the education system. "No education system is going to be transformed without the full enablement and the full co-operation of the teaching staff," the Minister argued.
"There is an ongoing collaboration among the Ministry, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), the independent schools, the parent teacher's association, and the churches to ensure that we have the best qualified faculty in every level of our education system," he added.
In the meantime, Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry is working to merge a large portion of the smaller neighbourhood basic schools with government infant schools over the medium term.
"This will allow the Ministry of Education to assist with trained teachers and better supervision, and therefore, a higher level of infant education than we have had in recent times," the Minister said.