JIS News

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  • Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is calling on the private sector to give assistance to children with disabilities in order to ensure that these youngsters have a bright future.
  • Mr. Kellier was speaking at the graduation ceremony for the Ministry’s Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) held on July 15 at the Apostolic Church of Jamaica in Kingston.
  • The Minister praised the teachers for their exemplary work with the students, who are challenged with varying developmental, mental and physical disabilities.

Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is calling on the private sector to give assistance to children with disabilities in order to ensure that these youngsters have a bright future.

“We hope that members of the private sector of this country will see fit to come on board and help us to help these young ones that are in need of their support,” he said.

Mr. Kellier was speaking at the graduation ceremony for the Ministry’s Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) held on July 15 at the Apostolic Church of Jamaica in Kingston.

Forty children, aged six to eight years, graduated from the programme, which is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Thirty-two of them will move on to special education institutions, while eight will be matriculated into the regular school system.

The Minister praised the teachers for their exemplary work with the students, who are challenged with varying developmental, mental and physical disabilities.

“I want to thank the miracle workers who work with the ESP programme…they are the real miracle workers in this country. I really want to thank them for the work that they have done over the many years and continue to do. We look forward to your continued service as we seek to strengthen this programme because the need that exists out there is very large,” he said.

Minister Kellier informed that the programme, which was implemented in 1975 with 10 children, has grown over the years. There are 1,600 children currently enrolled at the ESP.

 

“The line-up that is waiting for admission to the programme is more than the space that we have, so that just tells you the great need and the importance of this programme,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts Risden, said that children with disabilities are capable of achieving their full potential given the opportunity and the right kind of support.

“The ESP is a reflection of the Ministry’s acknowledgement of the importance of educating our children, who are living with disabilities in order to ensure that they maximise their full potential and to give them a chance for integration in the society so that they can be independent and contribute to the country,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary gave the Ministry’s continued commitment to providing the level of support, which ensures that the nation’s children receive proper education.

Other such initiatives that are administered by the Ministry in his regard are the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) and the Education and Social Intervention (ESI) grant programme.

The ESP, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, provides assessment services for children with developmental problems, personalised special intervention programmes, according to the child’s special needs, as well as training of parents in caring for children with disabilities.