JIS News

With four education roundtable discussions already held across the island, members of the public have expressed concern about the high illiteracy rate and the poor performance of students at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level.
Speaking at the most recent forum held on February 27 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Dr. Rae Davis, Chairman of the National Task Force on Education Reform, said stakeholders, including principals, education officers and businesspersons, have “expressed concern about the contribution that education makes to the society and the whole issue of the aggressive behaviour of both adults and students and how much the education system could contribute to a more caring society.”
The 14-member Task Force was appointed earlier this month by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to help transform the island’s educational system by using a 10-point terms of reference, which is expected to start yielding results as early as the next school term in September. The roundtables are expected to inform the work of the Task Force.
Dr. Davis said the Task Force was seeking to understand where the world was going, where Jamaica is and where the country ought to be in the next10 years and how the country will get there.
“We feel that this time, we can afford to make it happen. We feel that the resolution (to reform the educational sector) passed in Parliament is a trigger, which we feel will make this whole exercise somewhat different,” he said.
He also expressed optimism that recommendations that would be put forward by the Task Force would be taken seriously.
In keeping with the 1999 KPMG’s strategic performance review, the Task Force is charged with: making recommendations on financing from the basic to the tertiary level and determining the best allocation of resources; evaluating the education ministry’s structure, organisation and staffing and making recommendations about its effectiveness; evaluating the Education Act and Code to determine what changes are needed to ensure accountability and that basic benchmarks are met; identifying the tools needed to ensure a first-rate educational system; and proposing measures that can foster a continuing partnership between the state, church, parents, teachers, students, political parties, past students’ associations at home and abroad, non governmental groups and the entire civil society.
The other members of the Task Force are: President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Wentworth Gabbidon; Trade Unionist, Lloyd Goodleigh; as well as Dr. Nigel Clarke, Eric Crawford, Elaine Foster-Allen, Pamela Harrison, Marie Hitchins, Rev. Franklyn Jackson, Dr. Dennis Minott, Joan Spencer,Joan Tucker and Tricia Wildman, National Student’s Council Representative.