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Implementation of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP) will continue this fiscal year, with an $881.21 million boost.

The money has been set aside in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.

The programme seeks to provide support to the Ministry of Education’s policy to expand compulsory education from age 16 to 18 by providing approximately 2,100 additional secondary school spaces.

It also aims to operationalise the new agencies that are key to improving capacity for delivering high quality education; set up mechanisms to mobilise additional resources for the education sector; and garner stakeholder support for the ESTP.

Up to February, 2013, physical achievements of the programme include: 526 school inspections and training workshops for inspectors conducted; 243 School Inspectors trained; awareness training workshop with stakeholders in the 10 pilot schools conducted, with approximately 40 participants attending; the continuation of the Teacher Registration process with 23,400 entries currently online; and the development of a Code of Conduct for Teachers.

Also, a Master Training Plan and Teaching Standards have been developed. The Jamaica Teaching Council discussion Bill has been finalised, and the revised draft is with Chief Parliamentary Counsel; the National Council for Educational Leadership (NCEL) was established; and the Teacher Management Information System 75 per cent complete.

In addition, the trial of concept for new Department of Schools Services (DSS) commenced in Regions 1, 2 and 3; a Ministerial approval has been received to establish the DSS which will manage the regionaloperations; the National Education Trust (NET) has been incorporated and is operational; construction of Cedar Grove High School has commenced; and Cabinet approval has been received for the establishment of the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC) and a Commissioner/Executive Director has been employed.

For the 2013/14 period, it is anticipated that the National Education Inspectorate will conduct at least 150 school inspections; the activities for accreditation of Inspector Training by the University Council of Jamaica will be finalised; and activities for implementing an electronic system to support inspections will commence.

It is also expected that for this fiscal year, the construction of Cedar Grove High will be completed; the extension of three existing schools will be completed; J-TEC will be launched; activities for the revision and piloting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will continue; support material for the National Comprehensive Numeracy Programme (NCNP) will be printed and distributed; and services for other activities, including Special Education and Curriculum Assessment, will be procured.

Further, the pilot of DSS activities is to continue and activities finalised for its establishment; Cabinet approval is to be obtained for the establishment of the DSS; and software is to be procured for the Education Management Information system (EMIS).

The programme, which began in March, 2010 is scheduled to end in March, 2014. It is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter

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