National Education Trust could Raise Funds to Help Sector


Education Minister, Andrew Holness has said that a National Education Trust could be the vehicle to raise funds to develop the education infrastructure and lead to the removal of the shift system.
Noting that 12 per cent of the island’s schools and some 155,000 students were still on the shift system, the Minister said there was need for some 100 additional schools, costing about $20 billion. He said even though this estimate could be reduced by a third, the government would still not be able to afford the sum.
Speaking at a round table at the Jamaican High Commission in London last week, Mr. Holness said the concept of a National Education Trust was born out of the need to create a secure fiscal space for the education sector.
The National Education Trust, Mr. Holness said, could be an independent body headed by people of the highest repute and protected in law, and able to raise funds to be used directly for the development and maintenance of the education infrastructure.
He told the meeting that the National Education Trust could become a focal point for the Jamaican Diaspora across the world to channel the philanthropy of Jamaicans overseas.
“It would be something that everyone could believe in with a definite vision and mission,” Mr. Holness said.
He said the Trust would, among other things, act as an agency through which government could execute its strategic objectives of developing the education infrastructure without fiscal constraints; direct and co-ordinate non financial resources such as volunteers, donated equipment, material and technology; act as an agency that could interface with international funding organisations on educational infrastructure development projects; and provide a credible institutional framework for accountability and effective use of donated funds.
The Minister said it would take eight to 12 months to have the necessary legislation in place to establish the National Education Trust.
“Jamaica is in the process of transforming and modernising its educational institutions and governance structures, and we have modelled our new structures on sections of the UK education system. My tour here was to essentially validate the proposed changes, to see how the changes that have been made in the British system, that are proposed in the Jamaican system, exactly what they have achieved and how they are working, ” Mr. Holness told JIS news, adding that he was also able to pass on the Jamaican experience as well.
“It is cutting edge changes that the British are making to their education system and I could pass on our experiences, because our experiences are indeed useful to the British system as well. It was useful and in essence, it was a valuable exchange,” the Minister added.
Mr. Holness was in the UK on a week-long British Council sponsored visit, to observe the country’s education system.

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