- The Government increased investment in education, with an additional $2.7 billion provided in the 2018/19 Budget, moving to $101.6 billion from $98.9 billion in 2017/18.
- The maintenance grant for high schools was increased to $500,000, up from $50,000, and additional funding was provided to cover the payment for 1,007 cooks at primary and secondary schools, which amounts to $323.1 million. Payments totalling $887 million were provided for temporary and part-time staff.
- Improvement to Infrastructure • Approximately $525.3 million was allocated to carry out critical repairs at 183 schools.
The Government increased investment in education, with an additional $2.7 billion provided in the 2018/19 Budget, moving to $101.6 billion from $98.9 billion in 2017/18.
The maintenance grant for high schools was increased to $500,000, up from $50,000, and additional funding was provided to cover the payment for 1,007 cooks at primary and secondary schools, which amounts to $323.1 million. Payments totalling $887 million were provided for temporary and part-time staff.
Improvement to Infrastructure
• Approximately $525.3 million was allocated to carry out critical repairs at 183 schools.
• New classrooms were constructed at Black River High School in St. Elizabeth and the Portland-based Fair Prospect School through a $31-million grant from Japan.
• 269 school canteens were upgraded at a cost of $105 million.
• $50 million was allocated for the installation of wheel- chair ramps at 111 public educational institutions.
• Five additional classrooms and four technology laboratories were constructed at Immaculate Conception High School in St. Andrew at a cost of approximately $76 million.
• The Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon was taken off the shift system following the addition of 12 new classrooms under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
• A $700-million Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre for Mechatronics and Automation was opened at the Caribbean Maritime University campus. The facility is the largest FACT Centre in the world.
• JSIF distributed over 80 first-aid kits, 120 fire extinguishers, 120 smoke detectors, 40 wash hand signs and 40 emergency assembly signs to 40 schools islandwide.
Primary Exit Profile (PEP)
Preparations were advanced for the first sitting of the Primary Exit Profile, which replaces the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in 2019.
• Thousands of teachers and parents benefited from training, which is ongoing.
• A special app and website were developed to assist teachers, parents and students preparing for PEP. Persons may access the website at www.moey.gov.jm/pep or go to the Google Play store to access the app.
• Approved PEP preparation texts were launched.
• 100 per cent of students who sat the GSAT were placed in full secondary-level institutions, one percentage point improvement over last year.
• A new curriculum was developed for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.
• Carlong Publishers Limited supplied and distributed textbooks for students in grades one to three islandwide, valued at US$1,941,848.34, under the Government’s 2018/19 Primary Textbook Programme.
• A Mathematics Improvement Programme was piloted at Allman Town, Clan Carthy, and John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School in Kingston and St. Andrew; Devon Primary School in Manchester; and Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon.
• Entrepreneurship classes became mandatory in all high schools as one of the major initiatives of the Government to revamp the education system to produce more rounded individuals.
Child Care and Protection
• A multipurpose classroom, valued at $25 million, was built at the Granville Place of Safety in Trelawny.
• A new multipurpose building, valued at approximately $16 million, was constructed at the all-boy St. Augustine Place of Safety in Clarendon.
• The first Transitional Living Complex under the Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care project was completed at a cost of $135 million.
• The Muirton Child Care Facility in Portland was renovated at a cost of $40 million.
• Twelve of the planned 126 institutions under the 0-3 Brain Builders Programme became operational.
• More institutions were certified, with the number increasing to 128.
• Two Youth Information Centres (YICs) were launched in Westmoreland and St. Catherine and a recording studio opened at the St. Catherine YIC.
• More than 255 young people completed the first phase of training under a partnership established with Junior Achievement Jamaica for the provision of entrepreneurship training through YICs.
• Mobile YICs and homework centres were established in St. Catherine, Portland, St. Ann, St. James, Hanover and Clarendon through funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/ Ministry of Education Partnership for Improved Safety and Security in Schools.
Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH)
• Literature books were provided for students on PATH at all levels of the secondary system at a cost of $120 million.
• $26 million in payments for insurance provided for students on PATH and wards of the state at all levels.
• $2,000 allocated to each PATH student to cover the cost for IDs and uniform-related items.
• Book vouchers have been provided for the neediest students to purchase back-to-school supplies.
• Grants were provided to cover science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programmes, technical and vocationale and training (TVET) programmes, curriculum support, and other special requests.
• Two contracts, valued just under $356 million, were signed to supply equipment to the Portmore Information Parks in St. Catherine and the Montego Bay Terminal in St. James.
• The Records and Information Management (RIM) Policy Implementation and Sensitisation Programme was launched. It aims to ensure that all activities and decisions of the Government are fully and accurately documented, managed and monitored.
• The Ministry partnered with the Mexican Embassy in Jamaica to boost the Government’s capacity to digitally preserve the nation’s archived records and historical data.
• The Access to Information Unit launched its youth information booklet, titled, ‘Abby and Friends ATI Adventure’, which educates young people about the Access to Information Act (ATI) through storytelling.