JIS News

Basic school teachers are pleased with the outcome of Friday’s (Jan. 4) meeting with Education Minister, Andrew Holness. “We are comfortable with the Minister’s response as he has responded to some of our recommendations,” said President of the newly formed Associations of Early Childhood Institutions, Ricardo Hall.
At the meeting, held at the Morgan’s Basic School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, concerns were raised about the new operating standards for early childhood institutions, while there were calls for better pay for qualified teachers, pension benefits, and financial help for institutions. The Minister committed to look into funding for teacher training and the upgrading of institutions and to re-examine the incentive subsidy offered to those in the system, who have been trained to the level of diploma or higher.
Mr. Hall said that while the Minister had responded favourably to some of the concerns, he indicated that he would need the consent of Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance and Public Service on some of the other recommendations. “We understand that and he (Minister Holness) has promised that he would be getting back to us on those recommendations,” he said.
Mr. Hall told JIS News that the association, which represents several basic schools, had no problem with the new operating standards, which require institutions to upgrade physical infrastructure to provide sick bays, separate bathrooms for teachers and students, lunchroom, internal and external play areas; and provide suitable learning materials and programmes, among other things.
“The problem we’re having is funding and the Minister has addressed those and have promised to assist,” he stated. Florence Lamont, a pre-trained teacher at the Eltham Early Childhood Development Centre in St. Catherine, noted that the new standards are in the best interest of the institutions.
“We did not fully understand what was needed and we had some issues to be addressed but based on the information passed on, we now understand what is required,” she said.
She added that is satisfied with the Minister’s promise to “make available funds that principals, boards and practitioners can get loans to upgrade the institutions and upgrade the educational standards of the teachers.”

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