Early childhood education a priority for JETC chairman
Chairman of the JETC Report Professor Orlando Patterson chats with ECC Executive Director Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes.

STRENGTHENING of the early childhood education sector will be prioritised in the implementation of the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission (JETC) report, according to Professor Orlando Patterson.

Professor Patterson, who is chairman of the commission, said implementation of the report should start in September, with an external group to monitor the process.

“Early childhood is going to be priority number one. It is going to be up front,” the chairman said, while speaking with officials at the Early Childhood Commission last Monday.

He said the sector forms a “vital component” of the report, as it influences educational development in the later years of children. He highlighted that Jamaica “spends adequately” on education in comparison with other countries at the “level of our development”.

“We actually spend a significant proportion of our national income on education; we are in the top 17 per cent of nations in terms of the amount/proportion of our national income that is allocated to the education budget,” the professor pointed out.

He reported that coming out of his visit to May Pen Primary School in Clarendon, he is “very impressed” with the principal and staff at the institution. He noted that students travel more than one hour to get to the school and “the parents are willing to take on that burden in order to get there”.

Professor Patterson, who has been visiting key institutions since May 30 to engage with and get feedback on the commission’s report, said the group is hoping that technical and vocational education will be included at the primary school level.

Plans in the report will be executed in collaboration with the Education Transformation Oversight Committee which is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the progress made. It will be chaired by financial economist and a director of the Development Bank of Jamaica Dr Adrian Stokes.

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