Wed | May 23, 2018

Merger of training agencies to benefit at-risk youth - Reid

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2017 | 12:08 AM

The planned merger of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) and the National Youth Service (NYS) with the HEARTTrust/NTA forms part of a "rescue mission" for the country's at-risk youth, noted Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid.

He said the merger would ensure that there is a sustained programme for early intervention for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds.

"We all recognise that these children start behind those from more affluent background when they arrive at school. At age five, children living in poverty are several months behind their peers in terms of readiness for school," he pointed out.

"When we merge JFLL and NYS and HEART, it is because we are trying to arrest the problems and ensure that nobody falls through the cracks again. Every child in Jamaica now is going to be targeted and get an opportunity for their full personal, intellectual (and) academic development," the minister added, while addressing a teachers' appreciation banquet at the Aabuthnott Gallimore High School in St. Ann on Saturday.

He also stated that the Government remains firmly committed to eliminating the shift system within three years.

"We are rolling out a big programme in terms of taking schools off shift. We have just taken off about 34 schools over the last two years, and we have 42 more to do," he pointed out.

Reid indicated that a renovation and upgrading programme for a number of primary schools will be rolled out shortly, as allocations have been made in the upcoming budget for the undertaking.

The minister informed that the education budget for the 2017-18 financial year was approximately $97 billion, and he was confident that this amount, added with contributions from other sources, would enable the delivery of quality education to students up to age 18 and learners moving to tertiary-level training.