JIS News

Beginning next month, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and the Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP) will be embarking on a national survey, in order to ascertain the state of readiness of early childhood institutions for the implementation of the Early Childhood Act and Regulations, which takes effect in May.
Manager of the EBSP, Keith Samuda, speaking at a workshop for data collectors held on Tuesday (Jan. 23) at the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Caenwood Centre in Kingston, said it was critical at this stage, to know the extent to which the institutions were already meeting some, if not all of the criteria outlined in the legislation, primarily the requirement for registration.
“The data will be used by the Commission to determine the state of readiness of (institutions), because the Act and the Regulations set out the criteria for registration, and .this data will show how the institutions compare to the criteria for registration,” he stated.
The survey will target all facilities that offer sustained care to children from birth to six years and these include infant and basic schools, kindergarten, day care and after school care facilities.
According to Mr. Samuda, the survey would provide a more accurate figure as to the number of early childhood institutions, the qualifications of staff and operators of facilities, the quality of the programmes delivered, the physical state of the institutions and accompanying facilities, the teacher/student ratio, among other things.
“The data that we are looking for has to do with the number of institutions there are in Jamaica, because even though we have a figure of 2,500, we need to verify that figure. We also need to know the status of the institutions as it relates to the buildings, we need to know what sort of condition the buildings are in, are they satisfactory, are they sanitary, are the amenities adequate for instance, etc,” he pointed out.
He told JIS News that the data collected would be used by the ECC for reference purposes, so that inspectors, who would be dispatched into the field after the registration process begins, would have pertinent knowledge of an institution prior to visiting.
The data collected will also provide a check list for inspectors, who would be better able to ascertain if a particular institution has made any improvements in the recommended areas and the extent to which the improvements were done.
The survey would also be beneficial to funding agencies, he said, which may be willing to assist these institutions in particular areas.
Consultants from KOCI Market Research and Data Mining Services will be in charge of the survey, which will be completed and the results delivered to the ECC and the EBSP by May of this year.
The EBSP is jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Caribbean Development Bank.
Participants in Tuesday’s workshop were drawn from Kingston & St. Andrew, Portland, St. Mary, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, St. Catherine and St. Thomas.
A previous session was held in Montego Bay for data collectors from St. James, Trelawny, Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Ann. Some 70 personnel have so far been trained.