PM Not Satisfied With Returns on $57-Billion Being Spent on Education


Prime Minister Bruce Golding says he is not satisfied with the returns that government is getting on its annual expenditure of $57-billion on education. Of that amount he said some $50-billion represents grants that go directly to the schools. However he noted that while there is need to spend more, he is not satisfied that value was being received for the amount spent.
The Prime Minister was speaking last night (June 22) at the annual fundraising dinner of the Educational Foundation for Children’s Care Inc (Ja) (EFCCI) at the Mona Visitors Lodge at the UWI, Mona campus.
Mr. Golding said, ‘We spend a lot of time diagnosing our education deficiencies and there is no question that there are gross deficiencies. You see it in terms of the poor performance of our children. At the grade 4 assessment level, 30% of our children are not showing the proficiency they should be showing . We know of the dismal performance at the end of the high school period when they get to the CXC level. Between 70% to 80% of our students are failing to achieve the minimum satisfactory level of secondary performance’, Mr. Golding lamented.
He said that in order for the system to be more effective, parents needed to play their part and to support both the school and the teachers. He said the learning experience required more than well laid out school buildings, equipment and even good teachers.
‘There’s an attitude that needs to be created and that is where our children are coming up short’, he said. Much of it, he said, had to do with, among other things, the kind of socialization they have been subjected to and the kind of support “given at home to their little brains”.
Mr. Golding said he was surprised that with all the technology that was available we were not seeing any commensurate improvement in the performance of the children. ‘We have much better buildings but we have not been paying as much attention to what needs to happen to that little brain in the early period so that when that child enters the school system, the brain is ready to absorb as much as it can from the system despite the deficiencies”.
He said government was trying to introduce more options into the system including bringing the HEART/NTA programme directly into the schools to teach children a skill. Another area being explored by the government through the Ministry of Education, is the establishment of a Parenting Foundation as it is felt that a major deficiency in the education system is poor parenting.. Mr Golding commended the Educational Foundation for Children’s Care Inc., for the work they are doing in providing for abandoned, abused, neglected and disadvantaged children. He also expressed appreciation for the donation of a 5-acre property in Clarendon by Mr. Hemsley Johnston, a centenarian. A number of houses, a skills training centre and a medical complex will be constructed on the property. The EFCCI will also be receiving support from the recently launched Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation, (JECDF) headed by founder, Mrs. Lorna Golding. Mrs. Golding donated $100,000 to the EFCCI and has also agreed to be its Patron.

JIS Social