Reid expects increase in the number of teachers being trained
Education minister Ruel Reid has indicated that a 45 per cent increase in the number of practitioners having a diploma and higher degrees, signals the Government's thrust to ensure that every child is exposed to first-rate educational standards.
Reid, in an interview with The Gleaner following his presentation in the Senate last week Friday, said the ministry was constantly working to modernise the early-childhood sector and improve the output of every child.
"An increase in the number of professionals is gradual as persons graduate. We have partners such as CHASE (Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education) and Jamalco to fund teacher training," he said.
The minister noted that it is critical that more persons in the early-childhood sector become trained, but pointed to a number of challenges which continue to hamper a greater number of professionals having higher degrees.
"The main challenges are cost for tuition and fees, travel cost to and from class, (and) not being paid as trained teachers at the end of the programme," Reid told The Gleaner.
"While we have more colleges offering degrees in early-childhood education, these practitioners are not necessarily entering the classrooms, as the majority of early-childhood institutions are privately owned."
The education minister also informed the Senate that a raft of programmes are being implemented to aid in the development of children's brains.
One such programme is the Jamaica Brain Builders programme, which he said is Jamaica's first 1,000-day strategy of the life of the child.
Reid said such a programme is necessary as a subset of children are at risk and require additional services, particularly social protection services for children in poverty, and child protection and security services for those who have been victims of abuse and/or neglect.
He also said early intervention services are paramount for those at risk of, or diagnosed with, a disability.