Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
PROFESSOR MAUREEN Samms-Vaughan, chairperson of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), has reported that though there has been gradual improvements in early-childhood institutions reaching the required standard of having trained teachers, most schools are still struggling in the area.
Professor Vaughan told The Gleaner on Wednesday that so far only 29 per cent of early-childhood institutions were able to reach a satisfactory standard. There are approximately 2,600 early-childhood institutions.
"We are still a pretty far way off, but it's a gradual improvement, because we started at 20 per cent, then we went to 25 per cent and now we are at 29 per cent, so we have a long way to go," she said, following the official handover of the new building at Allman Town Infant School.
"The ideal situation is to have a trained teacher in every class, but we are even further from that, so we are trying our best to have a trained teacher in every school," she added.
Professor Vaughan also told The Gleaner that the commission is assisting schools to meet the health and safety criteria.
A LOT OF WORK AHEAD
"We still have quite a lot of schools that haven't met the health and safety criteria, and we are working with those schools now, and so far we are coming close to 50 per cent," she said.
Head of the National Parent-Teachers Association Everton Hannam, urged the commission not to become relaxed.
"We don't want to be daunted by the challenges, but as an association, the concern is tempered by the mechanism that is put in place and the pace at which these standards are achieved," he said.
"There will be concerns, but at least we want to be encouraged that they are working with timelines, and so we don't want them to become relaxed, but to keep working hard in achieving the best results for our children."
The ECC is an agency of the Ministry of Education and was established in 2003. The agency has overall responsibility for early-childhood development in Jamaica.