JIS News

Consultant for the Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP), Janet Brown, has said that the early childhood regulations, which comes into effect this year, were designed to benefit all stakeholders in the sector, primarily the children.
The regulations, which come under the Early Childhood Act 2005, require that all institutions are registered and set new standards of service and quality delivery.
“First of all, it will benefit the children and in the long run, it will benefit the staff and the communities in which these schools exist,” Ms. Brown said, as she addressed a training workshop for early childhood officers from regions three and four on Monday (Jan. 15), at the Falmouth Methodist Church hall in Trelawny.
The workshop is the third of a series being organized by the EBSP and the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), to prepare education officers to educate stakeholders at the community level.
A five-year project of the Ministry of Education and Youth, the EBSP, in collaboration with the ECC, will have full oversight for the early childhood institutions across the island and ensuring that the institutions are adhering to the rules, as set out in the legislation.
“There are standards now that the institutions will have to reach over a period of time and these have to do with such topics like staffing, programmes provided, materials that are available to children for learning and play, among others,” Ms. Brown explained.
She appealed to the participants to grasp as much as they could from the workshop so that they would be able to “set people on fire in terms of the new standards and feel good about wanting to make their school into a model school for their community and for their parish”.
Chairman of the ECC, Dr. Maureen Samms Vaughan, told JIS News that the training workshops being conducted, were intended to ensure that the “education officers know in detail about the law and the kinds of places that schools can go for resources and after that, they then will be going out to hold multiple workshops in communities through out the country, just to make sure that everybody understands what we really want to happen”.
She noted that even though the government had an important part to play in ensuring that the schools were up to standard, basic schools were traditionally community schools and “we want to ensure that the community understands what we are trying to do and become protective of their basic schools and indeed work together for the good of the children in each community”.
For her part, Senior Officer in the Early Childhood Unit for region three, Pauline Barnett, said that the workshop was very informative and that “a lot of grey areas that persons had doubts about in terms of communicating information to the stakeholders were cleared up”.
“The activities that we participated in will help us when we go to conduct these workshops so that we can really help the stakeholders to better understand what the requirements will be. The workshop was good and I am certain that all the officers benefited based on the evaluation that we had,” she said.
The series of training workshops, which started in Mandeville on January 9, will conclude at the Jamaica Conference Centre at January 24, with the launch of a public education campaign dubbed: ‘Start them right, Make them bright’.

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