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World Bank praises Education Ministry for transformation programme

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Director of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), Jean Hastings (left forefront) escorts Dr Harriet Nannyanjo as she interacts with representatives of the ESTP's Organizational Development Team

Representatives of the World Bank have commended the Ministry of Education for its implementation of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP).

The programme is partially funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$16 million under its Education Capacity Building Programme. The Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) also provide funding for the ESTP which was started in 2005 following the Education Task Force Report of 2004. The task force was chaired by educator Dr Ray Davis.

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," said Nannyonjo.

"We also see where the ministry is working to sustain the interventions that have been put in place," added Nannyonjo while addressing the meeting which included representatives of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the IDB.

Nannyonjo described the ESTP 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," said Nannyanjo commented.

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

In the meantime, Dr Jennifer Obidah, a representative of the Canadian-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.

impact on Jamaica's

education system

The consultant argued that the NEI has had a significant impact on Jamaica's education system.

According to Obidah, 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," said Obidah.

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.

Obidah 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.