Education Minister Says ESTP Working

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites (left), addresses signing ceremony for a loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) worth approximately J$3 billion to support the education sector reform, at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, on Wednesday, November 25. Looking on is Minister of Health, Hon. Horace Dalley.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) is progressing well.
  • The ESTP was established in response to the assessment of the performance of Jamaica’s education sector, as documented by the 2004 Task Force on Education Reform.
  • These reforms will continue to be implemented under the current tranche of the PBL.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) is progressing well.

“I want to declare irrefutably that the transformation programme is working. Every index of progress that we want to measure is going in the right direction. We have a long way to go, but we are on the correct path,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at the signing ceremony for the final of three programmatic policy based loans (PBLs) with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), worth US$25 million (approximately J$3 billion), for support of the education sector reform.

The signing took place today (November 25), at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, in Kingston.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry is pleased that the IDB has seen it fit to continue the programme of support for the ESTP, noting that this disbursement will have a significant impact.

He indicated that there has been noticeable improvement in the performance of schools which have been the recipient of the ethics and practices promulgated through the education system transformation process.

The ESTP was established in response to the assessment of the performance of Jamaica’s education sector, as documented by the 2004 Task Force on Education Reform. The ESTP represents an all-embracing set of actions designed to result in improved standards of performance and greater accountability at all levels of the education system.

The Government and the IDB successfully negotiated for the provision of budgetary support in December 2008 and February 2010, which formed the first two programmatic PBLs, in support of the programme.

“We have been assisted so much in enhancing the management of the education system. No more will seniority, tenure, religion or politics determine who govern schools. It must be (based on) competence,” Rev. Thwaites said.

Some of the reforms achieved under the Education Sector Reform I and II include maintaining a stable macroeconomic framework; modernisation of the Ministry of Education; improved curriculum, teaching and learning school and school management;  building of relationships with communities and stakeholders; and behavior modification.

These reforms will continue to be implemented under the current tranche of the PBL.

Some noticeable accomplishments as a result of the ongoing process of reformation include the Mastery of the Grade Four Literacy Test showing improvements from 67 per cent in 2010 to 86.5 per cent Mastery in 2015. Mastery in the Grade Four Numeracy Test also improved from 41 per cent in 2010 to 65.7 per cent this year.

The percentage of teachers with first degrees also moved from 43 per cent to 62 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

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