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The Ministry of Education yesterday (June 23) officially launched the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), which will give greater focus to the reform of the systems, business processes and quality of the sector.
This is expected to improve outcomes, through focus on supporting a modernised and transformed system of governance, management, and improved accountability.
“The objective is to remove the quality gap.it is not just about talking (about) standards.we have to document standards, and part of the approach now is that everything that we do in education, there must be a standard that is set for it, documented (and) widely circulated within the Ministry, and our schools,” Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, said at the launch held at the Hilton Kingston.

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, listens to a point from Director of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), Jean Hastings, at the official launch of the programme on Wednesday (June 23) at the Hilton Kingston hotel. The ESTP will give greater focus to the reform of the systems, business processes, and quality of the education sector.

He said that once standards are set, the next step must be to enforce these, through accountability. “We have to move from a system of expectations to a system of accountability. For many years we took it for granted.we are looking for equity, but to get equity, we have to go through quality, standards, and then we come to accountability,” Mr. Holness said.
Meanwhile, Director of the ESTP, Jean Hastings explained that transformation of the education sector actually began in 2005, with the work of the Education Transformation Team (ETT), and was focused particularly on literacy, numeracy, and behaviour management.
She said the work of the ETT had begun to manifest, with the establishment of the Grade Four Literacy Test as a national exam, and the up to seven per cent improvement in this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, is in conversation with former Education Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson, at the official launch of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) on Wednesday (June 23), at the Hilton Kingston hotel. The ESTP will give greater focus to the reform of the systems, business processes and quality of the education sector.

However, she said, with the progress made in policy development and reform through the legwork of the ETT, there was need to deliver services in a particular way, to make the system work. This will be facilitated through the ESTP.
“Transformation is also about how we deliver, and this is where we are now advancing. Critical to that is actually changing our behaviour so the education system transformation programme will be focused on the culture change within the Ministries, its agencies and the schools, and also the systems and the business processes through which those services are managed,” she explained.
Miss Hastings pointed out that since the ETT began its work, some $7 billion was spent on the reform of the sector up to the end of the last financial year, with $6 billion of that sum invested in infrastructure.
The ESTP is being funded by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), along with allocations from the Government of Jamaica, with consulting support provided by the Cabinet Office.
In his remarks, IDB country representative, Gerrard Johnson said that “what is beautiful about this (education transformation) programme is that it is independent of the political process, or ownership by any one international agency. The fact that this is a programme that has spanned many years, and enjoys priority regardless of who is in power, that’s worth noting.”
Special Representative of the World Bank, Badrul Haque, in his remarks, noted that the ESTP, along with initiatives such as the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), will ensure that the future labour force is productive and resilient in the global environment.
He said that successive governments have placed importance on education over the years. “Truly, you have a bipartisan education strategy in Jamaica.from the World Bank perspective, Jamaica has made tremendous strides in education, particularly in improving access to education from early childhood to tertiary levels,” he stated.