95 per cent of early childhood institutions now registered, says ECC
ROSE HALL, St James — Two decades after its establishment the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) is reporting that, as part of fulfilling its mandate, it has so far managed to have close to 100 per cent of early childhood institutions registered.
“The drive to get institutions compliant with requirements for registration continues where, to date, 95 per cent are registered with only about four per cent — which is equivalent to 92 institutions — being delinquent,” stated acting communications manager for the ECC, Sophia Stewart.
She was addressing an Early Childhood Education Conference now underway at the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay. The event is being held under the theme ‘The Right Start: Prioritising Early Childhood Education’. It runs until December 20.
The ECC was established by the Early Childhood Commission Act (2003), in keeping with the strategic goal of the Government of Jamaica to improve the quality of early childhood care, education and development within the early childhood sector.
Stewart told the gathering, Monday, that early childhood education has remained a priority for the ministry over the past 10 years.
She noted that before the publication of the 2021 Jamaica Education Transformation Commission report, which had several recommendations for the development of the sector, the ministry, as a part of wider government policy, had implemented several initiatives and invested billions of dollars towards improvements in the sector.
These include developing standards, investing in training and the establishment of the brain of builder centres.
Stewart said the early childhood education sector will continue to receive support.
“In addition, we know that some 14 per cent of the annual budget, which is equivalent to $11 billion, is allocated to early childhood education and special education, a clear commitment to strengthen the foundations of the education system. For us, a strong early childhood sector operating within strong standards is fundamental to our development as a people and as a nation. That is why we are placing emphasis on capacity building, health and safety of the students,” she stressed.
There are currently 2,319 early childhood institutions in Jamaica. Of this number, only 20 per cent are owned and operated by the government.
The remaining 80 per cent are owned and operated as businesses by private individuals. The business model includes the charging of fees for teaching provided.