Kudos to education ministry from World Bank

Saturday, March 14, 2015

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REPRESENTATIVES of the World Bank have commended the Ministry of Education on its implementation of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), which has been funded partially by the Bank.

Under the Education Capacity Building Programme, the World Bank provided financing amounting to US$16 million. The Education System Transformation Programme is also funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Speaking last week at a review meeting and mini- exposition, World Bank Team Leader, Dr Harriett Nannyonjo described the ministry's accomplishments as a job well done.

"For many projects [it] closes ... but for this programme there is a lot to show; and I think that says a lot about the Ministry of Education and its leadership and about the Government of Jamaica, as it relates to its focus on education," Dr Nannyonjo said. "We also see where the ministry is working to sustain the interventions that have been put in place," she added, while addressing the gathering comprising representatives of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, and the IDB.

The World Bank's representative described the ongoing Education SystemTransformation Programme as a difficult exercise that has been handled well by the Ministry of Education. "It's a programme that has had impact on staff, that has resulted in the creation of new institutions and which even has political implications. But you have consulted staff; there is a lot of openness and that in itself has helped to sustain the reform efforts," Dr Nannyanjo commented.

She said that the best practices from the Jamaican experience will be shared by the bank with other countries engaged in, or contemplating similar development projects.

Meanwhile, Dr Jennifer Obidah, a representative of the Canada-based Mind Bloom Consulting, which has been engaged to evaluate the World Bank's component of the ESTP, highlighted the achievements of the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) that has to date conducted more than 900 school inspections. The consultant argued that the NEI has had a significant impact on Jamaica's education system. According to her, the NEI is not only inspecting, but through its reports, has been generating help for schools.

"The NEI is significant as it is being seen as an entity which produces information that can be used by various sections of the ministry as well as other stakeholders who want to understand what is happening and who want to contribute to education," Dr Obidah explained.

She also highlighted the fact that 95 per cent of local public schools are now operating with School Improvement Plans that are being used to guide schools as they work to meet performance targets and to effect other improvements. She asserted that the ESTP is presenting many best practices which other countries in the region can take on as part of efforts to improve their education systems.

In addition to the NEI, other areas of the programme that benefit from the World Bank's funding include the introduction of the National Education Trust, the National College for Educational Leadership, the Jamaica Teaching Council, and the Change Management Unit of the Education System Transformation Programme.

The World Bank commended the ESTP's change management unit and programme director Jean Hastings on the manner in which the programme has been implemented.


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