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The Education sector will be further boosted by the National Education Trust (NET), which will be established as a medium of providing sustainable financial funding to engender the long-term development of the sector.
As outlined in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives last week by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, the concept of the NET was born out of the need to provide financial support outside the budgetary allocation and its concomitant constraints, so that the sector can consistently pursue important initiatives.
The main purposes of the NET are: to manage a National Education Endowment Fund; direct and co-ordinate non-financial resources, such as voluntary human resources, donated equipment, material and technology; act as the agency through which the government can execute its strategic objectives in developing and maintaining the education infrastructure, without being hampered by fiscal constraints; act as an agency, which will interface with local and international funding organisations on education infrastructure development projects; act as the focal point for interfacing with the Diaspora on issues of education and national development; provide a credible institutional framework for accountability and efficient use of donated funds; and plan and execute a programme of school facilities construction and maintenance.
According to the Ministry Paper, it is proposed that the NET be set up as a statutory body, similar to the National Housing Trust (NHT). The core responsibility of the NET will be to secure and manage an Endowment Fund from which capital educational projects will be financed.
The Endowment Fund will be supported from: the National Consolidated Fund; proceeds from Casino Tax; local and international philanthropy; local and internationally sourced loans; grants from international partners; and grants from other Government programmes, such as the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund (CHASE); Universal Access Fund (UAF) and e-Learning Jamaica (eL-Jam), the Ministry Paper notes.