Education Minister, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is urging more financial institutions to invest resources in advancing Jamaica’s education sector, particularly at the early childhood and tertiary levels.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (June 12) launch of the MoneyBuilder investment product at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew, Rev. Thwaites stated that the learning process during a child’s early years is pivotal to enhancing their total educational advancement, while tertiary training is key to national development.
“The only way that we are going to advance in education, the very foundational investment of any society, is if, despite individual foibles, we forge partnerships which are durable and which can withstand personal difficulties and sacrifices,” he said.
Noting that $11 billion of the Ministry’s recurrent budget for 2013/14, representing 14.6 per cent of the allocation, has been earmarked for early childhood and special education, Rev. Thwaites stated that this “is an investment that we cannot put off.”
“It will mean that we, at the central Ministry and our regional offices, have to economise in ways that we have not thought of before. It will require sacrifices, admittedly difficult, from parents and teachers,” he stated.
In the case of tertiary education, the Minister contended that, in light of the increased demand and enrolment in universities and colleges “the costs… are going to have to be borne more and more by those who are the recipients of it, rather than by the state.”
“We have been seeking ways to persuade the financial sector that some of (their resources) be directed, prudently, towards tertiary education because we need, not less, but more,’ he pointed out.
Against this background, the Minister welcomed the introduction of the MoneyBuilder investment product, which is designed to help parents plan for their children’s education, among other things.
The product is a collaboration involving securities dealer, Money Masters Limited, and four cooperatives – CoK Credit Union, St. Thomas Credit Union, St. Elizabeth Credit Union, and St. Catherine Credit Union.
“I… recommend to every (person) who has a child, a grandchild, a godchild, or whoever it is, that they wish to help, to engage in this product, to support it. Save the money…, so that by the time that child comes to the tertiary level, there will be a comfortable nest egg to bear that part of the educational expense which the state cannot contribute,” Rev. Thwaites urged.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter