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United Nations Children Programme (UNICEF) representative in Jamaica, Bertrand Bainvel, has called for 10 per cent of the budgetary provision for education to be allocated to the early childhood programme. He made this appeal while addressing the appreciation ceremony hosted by the Dudley Grant Memorial Trust (DGMT) at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on Wednesday (Dec. 12) to honour 25 retired basic school teachers.
Mr. Bainvel noted that while the new administration has “demonstrated its commitment to consolidating and expanding the early childhood system,” more needed to be done.
“To progress further, we need resources (from) the private sector, of course, but we also need a very tangible commitment to the early childhood programme in Jamaica. We need increased resources coming from the public sector, from the government. I would love to see 10 per cent of the education provision allocated to early childhood in the next budget,” the UNICEF representative stated.
He pointed out that the budgetary demand for the provision of quality early childhood education in other sections of the Caribbean is approximately 18 per cent.
“Ten per cent is the minimum we should ask for and if we can get 10 per cent next year, this would be a very important milestone,” Mr. Bainvel stated.In the meantime, the UNICEF Representative said that Jamaica should be proud of its achievement in early childhood education, noting that Jamaica is one of the few countries to have established a comprehensive early childhood system.
He noted that the system has experienced a major transformation evidenced by the establishment of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), the development of a Parenting Policy, and the announcement of a Parenting Commission.