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  • The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, Education (CHASE) Fund has formalised its funding arrangement with six teacher-training institutions for the provision of scholarships in early childhood education.
  • Under the initiative, CHASE has to date awarded 3,383 scholarships valued at over $284 million at the undergraduate level.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed on November 11 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, establishes the platform for administering, monitoring, and assessing the scholarship programme

The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, Education (CHASE) Fund has formalised its funding arrangement with six teacher-training institutions for the provision of scholarships in early childhood education, at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

Under the initiative, CHASE has to date awarded 3,383 scholarships valued at over $284 million at the undergraduate level, and in 2014/15, has committed $60 million for teacher training, which include bachelors and masters degrees, as well as doctorates, at local and overseas institutions.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed on November 11 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, establishes the platform for administering, monitoring, and assessing the scholarship programme.

The initiative dovetails into the Ministry of Education’s thrust to ensure that the qualifications of the cadre of teachers at the early childhood level are upgraded.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CHASE Fund, William Haven, said it is critical that all partners abide by the guidelines of the MoU, which aims to build capacity in the early childhood sector.

He described the Fund as having been the “vanguard of change” in early childhood education, providing just under $3 billion to the sector, since its inception 11 years ago.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Fund’s Education Committee, Dr. Rose Davies, explained that in 2005, when CHASE and the Ministry began offering scholarships to early childhood teachers, there were some 7, 226 practitioners in 2, 629 institutions across the island. However, there were only 276 college-trained teachers.

Dr. Davies said that although many were highly skilled, there was a deficiency in the level of professional development necessary for effectively delivering the early childhood curriculum.

“The CHASE Fund responded to the proposal to offer a scholarship fund for eligible candidates at the HEART Trust NTA, pursuing Level II, as well as the diploma for students at teachers’ colleges,” she informed, noting that this was upgraded to the Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012.

Since 2007, the CHASE scholarship programme has facilitated the Master of Education in Leadership Development; Masters in Special Education; Doctor of Education; Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis/Child Psychology; Doctorate in Education and Policy Studies; and Master in Teacher Education and Development.

Vice Principal, Admission/Administrative Affairs at Shortwood Teachers’ College, Dosetta Edward Watson, expressed appreciation on behalf of the beneficiary institutions.

She said that the MoU provides a platform for accountability, and concretizes the institutions’ commitment to the Fund’s mission.

“Do all you can to ensure that your contributions to our institutions continue on an upward trajectory,” she urged the administrators of the Fund, noting that “the value of your contribution is immeasurable”.

The other participating institutions are: St. Joseph’s Teachers College, Mico University College, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Church Teachers’ College, and the International University of the Caribbean.

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