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Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Maxine Henry Wilson, has said that the building of a strong foundation for early childhood education and development would help to reduce poverty in Jamaica.
“Early childhood education, building a strong foundation, is going to be the basis on which we are going to break that inter-generational poverty where children are given that chance in life to optimize all of their talents,” the Minister said.
She was addressing the official launch of the public education campaign on the Early Childhood Act, Regulations and Standards today (Jan. 24) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
The legislation, which comes into effect this year, requires that all institutions are registered. There are also new standards for quality delivery, which require that institutions meet building, health and safety requirements; allow adequate space for children; and facilitate the development of children and staff.
Over the next three months, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) in conjunction with Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP) will be conducting several training workshops across the island to sensitize the various early childhood practitioners and institutions about the new regulations and standards.
Last month, early childhood education officers were educated about the Act and its regulations.Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughn, Chairman of the ECC said that the launch of the education campaign “opens an important chapter in the chronicles of early childhood development in Jamaica”.
She noted that the “last few years have been exciting as we have seen the passage of laws regarding early childhood development and today we are here to engage the public and to engage our advocates in this our public education campaign on the legal and regulatory framework”.
Mr. Keith Samuda, project manager for EBSP, in his remarks, said that “these are exciting times in the early childhood sector as we seek to provide trained personnel and quality facilities in an enabling environment for our young”.