PESP Receives $700 Million

The Primary Education Support Project (PESP) is to receive $700.4 million for the 2007/08 fiscal year, according to the Estimates of Expenditure, which was tabled in the House of Representatives, yesterday (March 29), by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies.
A Government and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded initiative, the project will, during the year, complete preparation and piloting of instructional materials for the Literacy One, Two and Three programmes; train teachers and literacy liaisons to use the materials, and implement a programme in schools for September 2007.
Materials will also be prepared for the training of Curriculum Implementation Teams and Trainers for schools in Regions Four and Five, and to continue training in Region Six schools. In addition, the roll-out of instructional technology will be completed in the remaining 42 of 69 schools, and hardware, software, and instructional modules distributed.
The Grade One Readiness Inventory Test Instrument will be reviewed and three new instruments developed for implementation. This is in addition to the development of improved systems for administration of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), and the registration and placement of GSAT students. The revised standards for the examination will also be implemented.
Meanwhile, Phase One schools are to be completed. These include the Gordon Town, Bromley, and Guys Hill Primary Schools. Construction will also commence on the Hellshire, Mayfield, and Christiana-leased Primary Schools, and a Phase Two school, Sheffield Primary. According to the Estimates, electrical upgrading of the Ministry’s central, and regional offices and the Caenwood Centre is also to begin during the year. Community-based intervention activities in 100 pilot schools will also continue, in order to ameliorate absenteeism. The 2006/07 financial year audit and strategic evaluation of the project will also be conducted. As of this month, several achievements have been made, including the Rationalization Plan for the Reform of Teacher Education and Strategic Plan for the tertiary sector. Also completed were, baseline data; panel inspection; state of technology study; revision of teachers’ college primary curriculum; and midterm project evaluation. A number of training activities were undertaken, which saw some 8,600 teachers trained in the delivery of the Revised Primary Curriculum to Grades One and Six, and another 856 in continuous assessment. Eighty-nine teachers underwent classroom assessment, while 45 Fellowships were awarded to Teachers’ College Lecturers.
Seven hundred and fifty-two Principals participated in the Principals Diploma Programme, and six persons did psychometric testing. In addition, 160 senior managers and education officers completed advanced training in Education Management. Thirty-four thousand copies of supplementary readers were distributed to 800 schools, along with six assessment-training manuals to support the delivery of the Revised Primary Curriculum.
Instructional materials for Literacy One, Two and Three programmes were developed for pilot testing in 32 schools, while an instructional technology programme was introduced in 27 schools. The project also commenced pre-qualification activities for the Education Management Information system, which is to be introduced at the Ministry’s head office, as well as regional offices and the Caenwood centre.
In terms of construction activities, work commenced at the Gordon Town, Bromley and Guys Hill Primary schools, while approval is being awaited for the Hellshire, Mayfield and Christiana-Leased Primary schools.
The PESP forms part of the Ministry’s overall Primary Education Programme, the budget for which is $734.6 million. The other projects are: the Absenteeism in Jamaica’s Primary School; the Expansion of Primary Education Phase II; and the New Horizons for Primary schools.

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