EDUCATION MINISTER Ronald Thwaites is admitting that special education has not been given sufficient attention by the educational managers of this country.
"The data supplied to me indicates that Jamaica has probably a higher percentage of students in need of special education than many other countries with which we compare ourselves," he said. Thwaites said close to 30 per cent of Jamaican students fall in the spectrum of having educational deficiencies and this affects the future of the individuals and the country.
Speaking at the opening of the fourth biennial education conference of The Mico University College's CARE Centre on Thursday, Thwaites called for conference attendants to come up with a practical and affordable plan that would serve as a blueprint for administrators to better deliver special education.
"There is an ongoing discourse between us in the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Teachers' Association. But the partnerships that we need have to be much broader and it encompasses everyone engaged in education." Thwaites also asked the participants to pay particular emphasis on the early-childhood education and to ensure the difficulties of the children are diagnosed and treated at early stages.
"Too often it appears that this is not done adequately ... and entirely treatable situations are allowed to fester into full-blown pathologies at a later stage of the school system," the education minister said.