JIS News

Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Evadne Vennor, has commended Officers in the Early Childhood Units islandwide for the work they have done in helping to sensitize operators of early childhood institutions about the new Early Childhood Act and its Regulations.
With emphasis placed on the collaborative effort of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and the Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP) to sensitize the public on the new regulations, Miss Vennor told JIS News that some 72 officers accessed training to help stakeholders within their regions to better understand the requirements, thereby effectively assisting in the public education campaign.
“I think the public education workshops were quite inspiring and the people are sensitized and are now moving towards registration. They are looking forward to it, now that they have an understanding that nobody is coming out there to close the institution, but to help to improve the physical structure as well as the learning environment, because our children should be competitive among other children in the world,” she said.
Miss Vennor said the officers had bought into the programme and have assured that they would continue to work assiduously to ensure that the institutions in the different regions were geared for this positive step towards the improvement of early childhood education in the country.
“My officers have been doing a fantastic job out there and I know that they are going to continue the process. I wish them well because I know that they have the drive and the energy and they will be out there working to maintain the standards,” she said.
Consultant with the EBSP, Janet Brown told JIS News that almost 200 sensitization workshops were held across the island and that she was pleased with the efforts of the officers in the different regions.
“The data that we’ve got may have a few gaps in it, but we know that we are very close to the 200 mark of half-day workshops that have been delivered in all of the parishes to our parents, stakeholders, staff of early childhood institutions and the management sponsoring bodies,” she said, adding that more than 7,000 persons attended the workshops.
Meanwhile, Senior Officer in the Early Childhood Unit for Region 3 (St. Ann, St. Mary, Trelawny), Julia English told JIS News that the sensitization workshops held in the region were very successful.
“Participants came to the workshops a bit anxious but once they received the knowledge about the requirements for the registration of schools, which will take place later this year, they were more relaxed and were willing to go out and put in all the necessary improvements, so that their schools can be ready,” she said.
Mrs. English informed that work had already started on the physical structure of some institutions. “They have improved bathrooms, they have improved canteens and they are always asking questions about how they can access help from the funding agencies,” she said.
She pointed out that the officers in the region were available to assist those teachers who needed to upgrade their skills.
Resource Centre Manager for Region 6 (St. Catherine, Clarendon), Sharon Gilzene, told JIS News that a total of 19 workshops were conducted in the region and that the officers participated fully in the sessions.
“The kind of feedback that we received saw persons asking questions in regards to funding, equipment, materials and how they could meet the required standards,” she said, adding that other pertinent issues raised included pupil/staff ratio and how institutions would function under the new system.
Miss Gilzene is appealing to persons, especially parents, to get on board and join in this positive movement to improve early childhood education.

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