State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, is using education as a vehicle for progress in the constituency, implementing a 3-2-1 programme through which he hopes to achieve measurable results.
Mr. Crawford, who was making his contributions to the Sectoral debate in Parliament on July 17, reported that his East Rural St. Andrew constituency is ranked by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), as the “second most impoverished constituency and also second from last in literacy and numeracy."
In profiling his constituency, Mr. Crawford outlined that there was a high level of unemployment and crime. He said too that over 50 per cent of his constituency does not have piped water and 30 per cent of households still use a pit toilet.
“Faced with lack of resources and understanding my own inability to achieve all that is necessary to facilitate progress, I have taken the decision to focus on education as an enabler of the progress to which I speak,” Mr. Crawford said.
He informed that the targets under the “3-2-1 programme” are “three Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects per household in five years; two Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subjects per household 10 years thereafter; and one degree per household five years thereafter."
He stated that the programe will simultaneously concentrate on literacy, Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) performance, CXC achievements, adult education and skills attainment and certification.
Under the programme, there are initiatives such as the HOPE Readers Club for third graders in preparation for the grade four test; GSAT summer and study camps as well as GSAT Saturday classes for all five graders going into the sixth grade.
For the CXC, there will be focus on five subjects – Mathematics, English, Principles of Business, Office Procedures and Social Studies. There will also be a CXC mathematics camp and night school where out-of-school adults will be able to sit one free subject that is rotated each year. The night school offers opportunities for HEART training and certification programmes.
Mr. Crawford said the programme is already underway with a three-week residency camp at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“With the help of the University of the West Indies we were able to secure dorm spaces for 412 students, 270 of whom are 11-year olds about to sit the GSAT and the others are 16-year olds about to sit their CXCs.
“… We have hired the best GSAT teachers from one of the best performing primary schools as well as CXC mathematics teachers who were markers for CXC and thus know the usual mistakes and pitfalls that make the difference between success and failure,” he said.
Mr. Crawford said the total budget for the camp is slated at $5,900,000, with corporate Jamaica providing over $2,000,000 of that sum. He expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the initiative.
By Andrea Braham