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The first training workshop to kick-start the public education campaign on the new regulations and standards that will govern the early childhood sector, was held on Tuesday (Jan. 9) at the Mandeville Resource Centre in Manchester.
More than 20 education officers from the Ministry of Education and Youth’s regions 5 and 6 participated in the workshop, which was organized by the Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP) in collaboration with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).
As of May 2007, all operators of early childhood institutions will be required to register their institutions with the ECC, as stipulated under the Early Childhood Act of 2005.
Consultant with the EBSP, Janet Brown, who was the main presenter, explained that this “is a training workshop for the education officers, who will be the ones who will [conduct] workshops across the country in each of their zones.”
“We are running three workshops for education officers and then they in turn, will offer up to 200 workshops . which will run . between the 1st of February and the end of April,” she informed.
The training workshops, she said, “are to equip the education officers . to answer all the questions that will arise in community level workshops. We are trying to give them as much information as we can about the new (Early Childhood) Act and its regulations and requirements when registration begins.”
The public education campaign, which is part of a five-year project being undertaken by the EBSP, will benefit the key stakeholders in the early childhood sector including parents, teachers and the managers of institutions, who will have an opportunity to hear how the regulations will affect them.
Meanwhile, education officer from Clarendon, Leonarah Chambers, said that the workshop “was very relevant . we are now approaching the registration process, [and so] it prepares us to go and sensitize the relevant persons out there with what is to come.”
Suzette Smith, education officer from region 5, expressed that “the workshop is very good and as a new early childhood officer . I have benefited a lot because there are things that were discussed that I didn’t know or was not clear on, and many of those things were clarified. I believe that as I have benefited, so will those that I will impart to.”
The public education campaign is being held under the theme: ‘Start Them Right, Make Them Bright’ and is financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government of Jamaica. The next training workshops will be in Kingston and Trelawny during the course of this month and will supplement sessions held by the Ministry of Education last year.