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  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund (CHASE), W. Billy Heaven, says the organization continues to be a leader in the critical areas of national development, particularly sports and early childhood education.
  • In a recent interview with JIS News, Mr. Heaven said as it relates to sports development, CHASE gives 40 per cent of the gaming proceeds to the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), with the remainder going to Early Childhood Education, 25 per cent; Health, 20 per cent, and Arts and Culture, 15 per cent.
  • He added that the overall sector support totaled $3.5 billion, including $670 million for teacher training.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education  Fund (CHASE), W. Billy Heaven, says the organization continues to be a leader in the critical areas of national development, particularly sports and early childhood education.

In a recent interview with JIS News, Mr. Heaven said as it relates to sports development, CHASE gives 40 per cent of the gaming proceeds to the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), with the remainder going to Early Childhood Education, 25 per cent;  Health,  20 per cent, and Arts and Culture, 15 per cent.

“While we do not directly manage the disbursements of funds for sporting activities, it is our responsibility to administer allocations for health, culture and education,”  he pointed out.

“Early Childhood Education is really a serious priority where CHASE plays a lead role in helping to provide the infrastructure and environment needed for growing healthy young minds. Over the past 12 years we have built and refurbished some 567 early childhood institutions islandwide, at a cost of $2.4 billion,” Mr. Heaven noted.

He added that the overall sector support totaled $3.5 billion, including  $670 million for teacher training.

Mr. Heaven  said that it  is CHASE’s mantra that no child should be left behind where education is concerned, irrespective of  his or her  social and economic background.

He pointed out that when CHASE got involved in early childhood in 2003, the plan then was to take the sector to where it would provide the platform to get infant school students make the transition to the primary level.

Mr. Heaven noted that currently,  CHASE offers teacher training to some 6,000 teachers, moving them from Level One to Level 2. “We also offer them diploma and degree programmes,” he added.

He said  the best measure of return on investment in the Early Childhood sector Jamaica is the 86.5 per cent  Grade 4 literacy rate and the 65.7 per cent general achievement in numeracy.

“We fully understand that early childhood education reduces the need for remedial education. It provides for higher levels of educational attainment and labour market outcomes. Also, in terms of the benefit to cost ratio, we are aware that this can be as high as nine times in some cases,” Mr. Heaven said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has commended Mr. Heaven and the CHASE Fund team, noting that their work has led to the construction of over 100 early childhood institutions  over the past four years.

“CHASE is a first class organization that commissions its work fairly, promptly, properly and within budget. What they have been doing for early childhood education has been nothing short of exemplary. They have a track record of excellence,” he said.