Finance Minister Highlights Massive Sum for Education

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has reiterated that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be receiving $101.6 billion for 2018/19, up from $98.9 billion last year.
  • “The Government has remained consistent in its commitment to strengthening and improving education and human development in the country,” the Minister said.
  • Mr. Shaw pointed out that the funding being allocated to the Ministry will also focus on infants, not just children, teenagers and youth.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has reiterated that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be receiving $101.6 billion for 2018/19, up from $98.9 billion last year.

Opening the 2018/19 Budget Debate in the House on Thursday (March 8), Mr. Shaw said the sum is the largest from the Budget, because the Government remains committed to investing in the human development of the nation.

“The Government has remained consistent in its commitment to strengthening and improving education and human development in the country,” the Minister said.

“We can all agree that human development is essential to sustained growth and high living standards in Jamaica. We must all do our best to improve education services and student performance,” he added.

Mr. Shaw pointed out that the funding being allocated to the Ministry will also focus on infants, not just children, teenagers and youth.

“There is an insidious challenge that begins even before our children go to school. Studies have shown that failure to invest in our population during the formative first two years of life reduces the effectiveness of subsequent investments in education,” the Minister said.

He said Jamaica’s ‘Reach Up and Learn’ programme is one platform through which they will invest in the early stages of infants’ lives.

“It is acknowledged internationally as the most influential home-visit programme ever carried in a developing country. It is now best practice for similar programmes in other developing countries around the world. The unique approach, spearheaded by the University of the West Indies, targets low-income children between nine and 24 months,” the Minister said.

Mr. Shaw added that during the 2018/2019 Fiscal Year, the Government will also continue to invest in basic schools to assist them to achieve the standards outlined by the Early Childhood Commission.

“When this Government came to power, there were no basic schools that were certified to meeting quality standards. I am pleased to announce that since that time, the Government has certified over 100 basic schools to all 12 standards of quality established by the Ministry,” Mr. Shaw said.

“The goal for the next two years is to certify an additional 300 early-childhood institutions,” he added.

Mr. Shaw said the Government will begin the construction of five new secondary schools, as part of the five-year plan to eliminate the shift system in Jamaica.

Regarding education at the tertiary level, he said the Finance Ministry is in advanced discussions with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to enhance the Student Loan Bureau in an effort to increase financing accessibility for eligible students.

JIS Social