Thu | Sep 19, 2019

PM: Government facilitates inclusive education system for all children

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) observes as teachers from the Special Needs Department at Liberty Academy at the Priory in St Andrew, Jami-Ann Genius (left) and Tamalee Hamilton (right), interact with students during a visit to the institution yesterday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) observes as teachers from the Special Needs Department at Liberty Academy at the Priory in St Andrew, Jami-Ann Genius (left) and Tamalee Hamilton (right), interact with students during a visit to the institution yesterday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government remains resolute in ­facilitating an inclusive education system that caters to the needs of all children, particularly those with special needs.

“The Government is very sensitive towards special-needs education and towards providing the service. We acknowledge that we are not at the service level that we should be, but we are going to be increasing our budget. Indeed, this year, we have increased the budget significantly for special-needs education,” he said.

The prime minister was speaking during a visit to the Special Needs Department at Liberty Academy at the Priory in St Andrew on July 16.

Holness said that the establishment of diagnostic and care centres to cater to students with special education needs was paramount as these would assist in the delivery of special-education programmes and services.

“The challenge that we have is that we don’t have centres like these spread right across the island in a geographically equitable way where the population can access. We are building one now at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education in Portland that will serve that end of the island, where there is a total underprovision of services,” he said.

The prime minister reminded parents that the Ministry of Education has an obligation to provide education for every single child and encouraged them to make contact directly with the ministry.

“In the old days, people would dismiss the child as being slow and essentially consign them to a very dark future. Today, that is not the case, and it shouldn’t be the case. Every child, regardless of their needs, can have an opportunity to fulfil themselves, and what we will be doing in facilities like these is to provide them with the means to be able to fulfil themselves and articulate in society,” he said.