The Ministry of Education is working to cut costs within its agencies this year, by sharing facilities, expertise and earning revenues wherever possible.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on May 15.
“We will create ‘Service Bureaux’ for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Accounting, Human Resources (HR), Communications and Public Relations (PR) to serve several of our agencies and so cut our costs,” the Minister informed.
“We plan to cluster schools in groups and provide accounting personnel and software to improve financial management and timely accounting,” he said.
Rev. Thwaites noted that the Ministry has also committed to reducing its huge energy costs by 20 per cent this year and “we are actively pursuing initiatives at no cost to the Ministry, of solarizing our schools and retrofitting them with Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs.”
In the meantime, Minister Thwaites said the Ministry is also looking forward to more Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), to further expand the education sector.
He informed that Jamaica Education Television and DC Digital have launched pilot transmissions of Grade Three numeracy and literacy material and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) note masters.
“DC Digital, at no expense to the Ministry, is using Love Television for free to air telecasts. Could the other free to air stations join in…What a massive commercial advantage it would be to them to have a potential audience of hundreds of thousands tuning into them for educational material every day. We have the content material ready,” the Minister offered.
He further informed that there is a Google portal which has been made available to the Ministry as of September, to share virtual content among 1,500 teachers and 2,300 students in the Rio Grande Valley.
He added that the Ministry has also received 10 offers from the private sector to build schools, but lamented that “it is taking too long for approvals to be granted”.
CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH-EDWARDS