17-member task force to tackle issues in education
STOKES... we cannot begin to address the low standard of living and the social problems of our country without a material improvement in educational outcomes

THE Government's plan to transform Jamaica's education system is moving into top gear with the task force, Education Transformation Oversight Committee (ETOC), appointed to manage the changes.

Speaking at the committee's first press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday, Chairman Dr Adrian Stokes said that improving the human capital will enable education transformation.

"Economic growth and development in Jamaica is slow because the pace of human capital formation is slow. We cannot begin to address the low standard of living and the social problems of our country without a material improvement in educational outcomes," he said.

"If we act now, and put in place the engine to drive higher levels of human capital growth, then we are preparing ourselves for a sustainable future," he added.

The 17-member committee was formed to assist with the execution of the recommendations from the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission Report chaired by Professor Orlando Patterson.

According to Stokes, in terms of coming up with an implementation plan to operationalise the recommendations of the report, ETOC has collaborated with the Ministry of Education and Youth to finalise the terms of reference for a consultant to offer assistance.

"We are now in the market to recruit that talent. We have also completed the terms of reference for two other important roles — a chief transformation officer, who will be the executive at the Ministry of Education that is 100 per cent focused on execution, and we have also finalised a job description for a project manager to support the work of the chief transformation officer," he said.

A communication plan, Stokes said, has also been developed, which will guide how ETOC interacts with stakeholder groups and working with the senior leadership and the Ministry of Education.

Education Minister Fayval Williams said since the report launch, the ministry has been actively working on several plans to improve the education sector.

"We have had working groups at the ministry dive into the thematic areas, primarily to examine data and the adequacy of existing policies, identify enabling policy and legislative framework that would need to be put in place," Williams said. These, she said, include a philosophy of education to focus on our children's holistic development, ensuring equity in education, promoting a love for learning, developing self and life skills and having an overall impact on society with education.

Brittny Hutchinson

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