KINGSTON — As the Government strives toward universal secondary education, enrolment in secondary school has increased from 72 per cent to 82 per cent since 2006, says Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
Making the disclosure during his Throne Speech in Gordon House, today April 14, to mark the official start of the new Parliamentary year, the Governor-General said the government continues to implement the strategies outlined in the Education Transformation Programme, albeit limited by current financial constraints.
He said the number of students graduating with a minimum of four Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) passes has risen from 9,700 to 14,700.
“The Career Advancement Programme is being rapidly expanded to provide opportunities for skills development to those who have under-achieved through the normal grade progression. At the same time, emphasis is being placed on improving and expanding early childhood education to better equip our children to succeed through the primary and secondary system,” he said.
He said the Government will also focus efforts on supporting youth entrepreneurship and the implementation of community-based youth-led development projects as part of the National Youth Mainstreaming Strategy. He added that the development of human resources is the most vital element to nation building.
In the meantime, the Governor-General said significant potential investments have been identified within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, noting that public/private partnerships to construct the facilities required to secure these investments, will be created.
“In terms of the broader telecommunications market, the Government has recently tabled a new comprehensive ICT policy designed to facilitate greater competition and more effective regulation to encourage more investment in communications technology and provide greater benefit to the consumer.
This year will see the roll-out of an island-wide broadband network to provide access for urban and rural communities to high-speed internet service and the unlimited opportunities that it offers for business and income-generating activity, education and personal development,” he said.
The Governor-General said that efforts to address the nation’s road network will continue to be addressed primarily through the Jamaica Infrastructure Development Programme (JDIP), supported by a significant loan from the Government of China.
He said work has already started on the next leg of Highway 2000, from Sandy Bay to May Pen, in Clarendon.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter