The Government is in discussions with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as it relates to the buildout of five of 17 new schools, in order to remove 40 from the shift system.
Speaking at the launch of the Support for Sustainability of the Education Sector Transformation Plan, at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on May 15, Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said that a proposal in furtherance of the buildout of the schools is before the Public Investment Management Secretariat (PIMSEC).
An institution of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, PIMSEC was established to manage and administer all government projects in Jamaica, regardless of the source of funding, the type of procurement or implementation method used.
“I must also happily report that there are several local and international interests that have approached us in terms of wanting to help us to build out (these) particular infrastructure,” the Minister said.
Additionally, Mr. Reid noted that “there are even persons willing to give us a moratorium to facilitate this”.
The Transformation Plan is designed to support the continued improvement in the performance of the education sector, in order to meet the demands of the country’s development goals.
It consists of three to four areas to sustain the gains made in the education sector to date, and addresses remaining challenges.
These are the strengthening of the early-childhood modernisation initiatives centred on innovation in teaching, development of curriculum and materials, and regulation of the sector.
It also includes support to assist teachers’ colleges to strengthen internal quality assurance and capacity building for teacher education in numeracy and science, and technical support to the Division of School Services. The fourth component involves an audit to ensure the money is properly used.
Funded by the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica in the sum of US$500,000, the IDB will have responsibility for managing the finance on behalf of the Education, Youth and Information Ministry.
Senator Reid endorsed the technical cooperation grant, noting that there needs to be continuity and, by extension, sustainability in the plans for the education sector.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki, noted that investing in education at all levels is important to the overall development of the country and its people.
Mr. Yamazaki informed that over the past decades, Japan has been supporting Jamaica in the area of education under the Grant Assistance of Grassroots Human Security Project, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
For her part, Chief of Operations at the IDB, Adriana La Valley, said that “education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to effectively change the world”.
“We continue to provide support to initiatives that will foster continued improvement in transformation of educational outcomes. That is why we continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to fill development gaps in the sector,” she said.