JIS News

The Early Childhood Commission, which was launched in November 2003, will become fully operational this legislative year, bringing under one institutional umbrella, the policies, standards and regulations pertaining to day care and early childhood education and development.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke, in his Throne Speech at the State Opening of Parliament today, said that the work of the Commission would advance the creation of an early childhood system “that gives our children an early, solid and sustainable start, making them capable of competing with their peers anywhere in the world.”
He said that as Government continued to emphasize education and training in advancing the social agenda, new curricula would be developed, which would integrate the themes of citizenship, rights and responsibilities, co-operation and conflict resolution. The initiative is designed not only to reduce the incidence of youth violence, but also to enlarge the exercise of civil rights and civic responsibility.
The Governor-General noted that as part of the effort, the culture in education programme would be expanded, “to support the cultivation of creativity, the appreciation of our collective heritage and the reinforcement of the sense of our own possibilities, which lie at the very heart of both social harmony and economic development.”
As the focal point of human and resource development, the Education sector will also partner the Health and Labour and Social and Security ministries and other agencies in addressing the issues of lifestyle modification, promotion of wellness, work attitudes, nutrition, conversion from welfare work, entrepreneurial education and training, inculcation of wholesome attitudes and sustainable values.
“We must do these things as we create an informed and empowered citizenry, and build our capacity for national self-affirmation, so that we may successfully face the challenges of the global economy and international relations,” Sir Howard stated.
On another matter, the Governor-General mentioned that legislation would be brought to the House this fiscal year, to strengthen the framework, which underpins social stability and individual rights.
These include the Maintenance Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill, legislation to deal with sexual harassment and the Coroners (Amendment) Bill. Last fiscal year, the Child Care and Protection Act and the Property (Rights of Spouses) Act, were passed.
In addition, as a signal to the continuing drive to improve what is already one of the most efficient and highly respected electoral systems in the world, the Government intends to support the conversion of the present Electoral Committee into an independent Electoral Commission. The legislative process will be embarked upon during this year to bring such a Commission into being, Sir Howard stated.