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  • The Government plans to undertake strategies designed to facilitate the holistic development of children up to age three.
  • Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the engagements under consideration include the reintroduction of the roving caregiver programme, utilizing community health aides, among other stakeholders, to monitor the progress of newborns.
  • While acknowledging that the Government has the institutions to rectify learning challenges exhibited by some children, Senator Reid emphasized that “we are going to have to put (additional) resources (in place) to deal with them.”

The Government plans to undertake strategies designed to facilitate the holistic development of children up to age three.

These engagements, inclusive of an early stimulation programme, aim to provide interventions, where needed, to adequately prepare infants for learning, beginning at early childhood institutions.

Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the engagements under consideration include the reintroduction of the roving caregiver programme, utilizing community health aides, among other stakeholders, to monitor the progress of newborns.

He was addressing staff at the Ministry’s Region Two office in Port Antonio, Portland, on June 16.

In explaining the rationale for these considerations Senator Reid cited the 2016 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results, which he argued suggest possible developmental shortcomings within the zero to three age group “when 85 per cent of brain development occurs.”

The Minister said the number of children failing subjects such as mathematics, science, language arts, social science, and communications tasks this year, ranged between 16 and 40 per cent.

This, he added, further suggests that a significant number of students are not fully prepared for formal education consequent on several factors, including “challenging circumstances” being experienced by some parents.

While lauding provisions to vulnerable families under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), the Minister cited the need for additional interventions that ensure children receive adequate and substantial inputs, including nutrition that enables them to learn.

 

To this end, Senator Reid advised that he will shortly be making a Cabinet Submission to lobby for inter-ministerial support.

This, he pointed out, would focus on a partnership spearheaded by the Ministries of Education; Health; and Labour and Social Security, with support from other portfolio areas.

While acknowledging that the Government has the institutions to rectify learning challenges exhibited by some children, Senator Reid emphasized that “we are going to have to put (additional) resources (in place) to deal with them.”

“The Government takes education seriously. We understand this particular issue and are committed to continue investing in education so that every child will learn,” Senator Reid underscored.