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Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry Wilson has urged parents and communities to take a vested interest in the development of early childhood institutions.
“Children benefit more when the community is involved”, the Minister said, as she addressed a ceremony for the adoption of Burke’s Early Childhood Development Centre by CARI-MED Limited, at the school in Swallowfield, Kingston on May 18.
She urged the school’s administration to strengthen the parent teachers association and to get guardians more involved in the affairs of the institution. She pointed to initiatives, such as the Roaming Caregiver Programme, which seeks to involve both parents and children in child development activities.
Pointing to initiatives to improve early childhood education and development, Minister Henry-Wilson informed that under the proposed Early Childhood Development Act, teachers would be required to be suitably qualified, and they would have to go through character assessment interviews before they could be placed in the classrooms. “We don’t want just any person, even if they are qualified, to be given the responsibility of teaching our little ones,” she noted.
The Education Minister also commended CARI-MED for its support to the school and urged the pharmaceutical company to invest time in the programme, by interacting with the students as well as parents.
Under the adoption programme, CARI-MED will provide the school with two computers with appropriate software, repair an existing computer as well as provide computer training for staff through the HEART TRUST/NTA.
Additionally, the company will pay 75 per cent of school fees for 10 needy students. The computer and grant, valued at $25,000, was handed over to the school’s acting principal, Marcia Stewart at yesterday’s ceremony.
In his address, Dennis Grant, General Manager at CARI-MED, informed that the company planned to carry out a special Labour Day project at the school.
“We will carry out a special beautification project with the community and the Stadium Police to improve Burke’s facilities, making it more comfortable for both students and teachers”, he said, noting that the work would also include painting and repairing doors and pipes.
He urged community members and parents to come out and support the project. “I would like to extend a special invitation to the parents, members of the board and those from the community to come out in your numbers on Labour Day,” he said.