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Ministerials Paragraphs Related to the Theme Paragraphs VII Summit
Reports
Date:  3/21/2012 
The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has recognized the importance of education and training in the growth and development of the country. The GoJ has outlined in its Vision 2030 National Development Plan and the Ministry of Education National Education Strategic Plan 2010-2016, programmes of action geared at enhancing quality, increasing access and fostering equity at all levels of the education system. One of the national goals for education in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan states “Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential”, to be achieved through a world-class education and training system. Implicit in this, is the transformation of the education sector in order to engender improved systems of accountability, greater stakeholder participation, effective use of resources including education technology and the implementation of relevant curricula to provide quality education for all.

Quality in education refers not only to outputs and outcomes but also to inputs and processes. Realizing this, the GoJ has been focusing on the delivery of the education product by commencing a plan to modernize the roles and functions of the Ministry of Education; introducing a school accountability framework; refining the competence and professional levels of teachers; providing adequate resources for curricula delivery; and increasing stakeholder involvement in the education process. Efforts to improve quality have often included collaboration and support through locally and internationally funded projects and programmes. (See Table 1 below)
Initiatives associated with improving quality include the following:
• curriculum reform including the development of national assessment standards;
• teachers’ professional development;
• the rationalization of teacher education;
• strengthening of educational management capacity;
• targeted interventions to improve literacy, numeracy and attendance
• support to vulnerable students
• institutional strengthening


Early Childhood Level
At this level catering to children 0-5 years, the GOJ achieved the following:
• Establishment of the Early Childhood Commission.
• New curricula were developed and are being implemented
• 86% of Early Childhood Institutions have applied for registration in accordance with the new requirements. 64% of them have been inspected as part of the registration process. Training was also provided for various categories of early childhood practitioners including principals and boards, primarily in the area of health and safety standards.
• The National Public Awareness Parenting Campaign was developed and launched.
• Legislation and policy developments were advanced in areas such as the National Parenting Policy and the Bill to establish the National Parenting Support Commission
• The Behaviour Management Plan template was drafted
• Mechanisms to address the psychosocial needs of children, including the preparation of the Child Health And Development Passport and preparations for the introduction of curriculum and delivery model for the Diploma in Child Development, were implemented

Primary Level (Children 6-12)
The GoJ implemented plans to improve the learning environment at the primary level. In this regard, initiatives were undertaken that addressed the community, health of the children, teacher development, the built environment and the school management. Some of the major initiatives undertaken included:
• National Literacy and Numeracy Specialists were recruited to support the objective of achieving 100% literacy at the Grade Four level. During the period, the literacy rate achieved (mastery) at Grade 4 improved from 68.9 per cent to 70.1 per cent (81.3 per cent of girls and 59.1% of boys).
• The curricula in Grades 1-3 were revised and implemented and the Grades 4-6 curriculum was revised
• Citizenship Education programme introduced in schools
• Strengthening of the School Feeding Programme
• Improved School Management (e.g. training of Board Chairmen, professional development of principals)
• Professional Development of Teachers (64 Quality Education Circles (QECs) launched)
• Rationalization of space (337 school spaces added)
• Enrichment Centres (16 established in select primary schools)
• National Student Registration Programme

Secondary Level
The MOE focused on the quality of educational institutions, the tailoring of development programmes for the children through correct diagnoses and the creation of additional facilities to allow greater access and entry to employment. The main initiatives supporting this strategy were:
• The Career Advancement Programme, a youth career development initiative developed by Ministry of Education and its agencies including HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service and Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning. It provided training and certification in Technical and Vocational areas and on-the-job exposure for youth 16-24 years. This programme is currently operative in 78 secondary schools.
• Implementation of the Centres of Excellence initiative with the establishment of a new Secondary School, Belmont Academy
• The creation of an additional 1,590 spaces
• Piloting and administration of the Grade Nine Diagnostic Test in high schools
• Establishment and implementation of post of Dean of Discipline in 78 schools
• Implementation of Security and Safety Policy in schools
• The stationing of Safety Officers in several schools affected by violence or the risk of violence

Post-Secondary
The HEART Trust/National Training Agency continued to play a critical role in the training and certification of the Jamaican workforce. The emphasis of the Agency has been centred on facilitating the delivery of higher level quality training programmes; providing relevant industry-based experience through a productive enterprise environment and fostering the development and growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the incubator experience. This is being implemented through the:
• Transformation of the HEART Trust/NTA operated entities into Workforce Colleges and TVET Institutes
• Infusion of the ‘at risk’ and unattached youth programme into the HEART Trust/NTA training system and;
• Implementation of the Senior School Programme

Tertiary
Work towards improving the quality of tertiary provision included the establishment of Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (JTEC) and access improved with new lending arrangements and revised operations at the GoJ Students’ Loan Bureau.

Financing
The GOJ established the National Education Trust (NET) to be the main channel through which financing of the Primary and Secondary School System will be achieved. Mechanisms through which it will be resourced include loans, grants and endowments.
The GOJ also receives support from a number of funding agencies for the improvement to the quality of education.
Paragraphs: 36, 37, 38 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

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