KINGSTON — A sum of $70 million has been set aside in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, for the Early Childhood Development Project.
The project, which is funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Government of Jamaica, seeks to enhance the quality of early childhood development schools and care facilities.
It also aims to improve the monitoring of children’s development, the screening of household-level risk affecting development and early intervention systems in order to promote development, and to strengthen early childhood organisations and institutions.
Since the project got underway in June 2008, 14 consultations have been held in the areas of parenting education, preventive health (including the introduction of the Child Health Passport), screening and diagnosis, and curriculum delivery.
The allocation for this fiscal period will go towards the development of a national policy for screening, referral and early intervention at the early childhood level; putting in place a screening system to determine household-level risks; and strengthening of the inspectorate for the early childhood institutions at the Early Childhood Education Commission (ECC) through the provision of grants.
Other targets include: development and implementation of a national early childhood parenting education and support sub-strategy; : strengthening the ECC’s parenting sub-committee; creating an accreditation system for early childhood parenting education and support programmes; and the transformation and scaling up of nutritional programmes to sustain achievements in reducing under nutrition.
The project is slated to conclude in December 2013.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter