JIS News

More than 850 teachers are expected to benefit from a joint project between the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and the HEART Trust/NTA to expand training in early childhood education.
The project, funded at a cost of $14 million by CHASE over a 12-month period, is expected to come fully on stream in the next two months.
Audrey Chin, a Director and Chair of the Early Childhood Education Committee at the CHASE Fund made this disclosure at a recent JIS Think Tank.
Mrs. Chin explained that prior to this project, the focus of the education committee of the Fund was centred on improving the learning environment within early childhood facilities.
“We decided to take it one step further and look at the teachers themselves delivering the training to children. It is this investigation that led us to this project,” she informed.
Elaborating further, the Director said that there was a substantial number of persons teaching within the early childhood sector, who possessed level one certification, so the Committee thought it prudent to look at an upgrade of those individuals to have them access level two training in early childhood education.
“Anything that will improve the cognitive skills of children within this sector.we will seek to incorporate it into the early childhood intervention programme,” Mrs. Chin pointed out.
HEART Trust/NTA, an official training arm of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, which provides teacher training on an ongoing basis, will manage the implementation of the project.
“We are now at the point where the selection process is going to be set up and defined. We hope that we can start pulling teachers into the programme beginning with the various HEART centres across the island,” Mrs. Chin said.
The Director mentioned that the education committee was also zeroing in on nutrition, specifically the school feeding aspect of early childhood education, with a view to developing a programme for intervention, as this was another area of need.
Given the resources and skill levels available through CHASE, an opportunity to collaborate with the private sector was a major way forward in advancing the programme, she said.
Another area targeted by the Committee, the Director said, was enhancing the availability of information about the sector, which would facilitate better planning.
“There is a lot in progress, but in terms of the available data that will allow us to structure our own priorities, we found that this is a work in progress,” Mrs. Chin said.
In this regard, the Director explained that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) approached CHASE earlier this year, to assist the agency with developing a research programme that would allow persons working in the early childhood sector, to have data that would better assist the planning process.
“The research, if it can be funded and executed efficiently, would give the practitioners in the early childhood education sector, a good feel as to the general state of early childhood education from the standpoint of the physical facilities, quality of teacher training and a whole host of variables, which impact the quality of early childhood education,” Mrs. Chin noted.
“We are hoping that somewhere in the future, this piece of research work can be completed, formalized and integrated into the early childhood education strategic planning process,” she added.Established in November 2002, CHASE is funded by mandatory contributions made by lottery licence holders.

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