JIS News

The Early Childhood Commission is to conduct the first national survey of the number of basic schools and students in the island as it seeks to develop a national profile of the early childhood education system.
Speaking in London recently, Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughn said the survey would begin later this month.
“What we have to do now is to try to see how many children, how many schools we have because basically we really don’t know a lot about these schools, because they have never had to come under any form of regulation or registration before. Toward the end of this month we will be doing the first national survey and we will be rating all the schools relevant to the (Early Childhood) Act, the regulations and the standards. And then we are going to have a national picture of where we are and where we need to be,” she explained.
Dr. Samms-Vaughn was speaking at a meeting with individuals and organizations in the United Kingdom that raises funds to assist basic schools and other early childhood projects in Jamaica. The Jamaican High Commission organized the meeting through its community relations office.
During the meeting she outlined the rationale behind the establishment of the Early Childhood Commission. She told JIS news that she was impressed with the level of support and commitment from the UK organisations and said the Early Childhood Commission would work with these individuals and organizations to coordinate their efforts.
“There was great interest and this was reflected in the number of organizations and persons at the meeting who all support basic schools and early childhood education and development in many different ways. One of the feedbacks I got was that they all felt that they are not coordinated enough and I think that this is a role the Commission can play to coordinate their efforts so that their efforts can be most effective in reaching the children with the greatest needs,” Dr. Samms-Vaughn said.
The Commission Chairman said some of the changes being implemented included the requirement that all person involved in an early childhood institution must have at least a Level One certification in Child Development.
She informed the meeting that the National Council for Technical and Vocational Training (NCTVET) offered a child development course at three levels. The entry course is available free of cost through the HEART Trust/ NTA.
Dr. Samms-Vaughn emphasised that the Early Childhood Commission was committed to the long-term change and improvement of basic school education.
“Changing basic schools now has to be a process. I expect it to happen over five to 10 years and I expect to see the change in the society, 20 years from now. We are working to change the lives of children from very early on so that we can see the change in our society,” she stated.