JIS News

Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has emphasised that operators of Early Childhood institutions should not be fearful of the registration process, as this would not result in any institution being forced to close its doors.
“We encourage persons to take a positive approach to the registration.as it will not trigger the closing down process. In fact, the closing down process is a very remote possibility. It is a last resort and a penalty that we hope we will not have to use,” he explained.
The Minister, who was speaking at a press briefing at Gordon House on January 15 to announce new initiatives to assist basic school operators who are facing challenges in paying the registration fee, said the intention of the government was not to close any school but to support and assist all institutions to reach the standards.
“We cannot penalize people for not already achieving the standard when we know the difficulty that exists in the system. We have to work to correct the difficulties and after this is done, those people who have failed to meet the standards could be considered as delinquent,” he informed.
Continuing, the Minister noted that operators of early childhood institutions should view the registration process as a means of gathering information about their institution. The information, he said, would then direct the government as to how best to assist the sector.
In the meanwhile, Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Dr. Samms Vaughn encouraged operators not to wait until the last minute before submitting their applications for registration.
“We encourage persons to come now and not wait until the last week. It is our tendency in Jamaica to wait until the last moment and to try and have everything done at that time; however, we would prefer to have a steady stream of applications coming in,” she indicated.
Persons who need additional information or have questions about the registration process may call the ECC’s hotline at 1-888-dial-ECC (1-888-3425-322).
According to the Chairman, the application process does not require persons to meet all the standards before registration. “It is your first contact with the system. The process will be followed by an inspection. It is when an inspector visits the institution that the inspector will be able to identify the things that you are doing well and those that you need to work on. The time period within which you need to meet the standards will be allocated from that,” she explained.
“We are not expecting the institutions to meet the requirements by the end of February, we are asking that they submit an application and make the first contact with the system,” Dr. Samms-Vaughn continued.
Since November 30, the Ministry of Education began the compulsory registration of early childhood institutions, in a bid to improve the quality of service delivered to youngsters at that level. The registration process is expected to continue until February.
Recently, concerns were raised by early childhood practitioners about the new operating standards for early childhood institutions, as well as calls for better pay for qualified teachers, pension benefits, and financial help for institutions.

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