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Senator Reid calls for all-inclusive education system

Published:Saturday | December 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

OPPOSITION SENATOR Ruel Reid has said that while he is in support of the new Disabilities Act, which was passed in the Senate recently, there is still need for an all-inclusive education system and less denial of the multiplicity of special needs of the country's population, which could be as high as 70 per cent.

Reid argued that Section 26 of the bill, which addresses education and training, has significant implications for the education system as the bill now assumes that disability is largely physical, but schools, like government offices, will have to be retrofitted.

The Task Force on Education 2014, according to Reid, noted that 24 per cent of Jamaica's children are having serious mental/cognitive deficiencies; 50 per cent were not ready for primary and secondary education; and 70 per cent underachieved in the country's education system.

"It is reasonable to surmise that at least 70 per cent of our students have some disability or special need. This truth is hidden in the differentiation between new high schools and traditional high schools from GSAT placement," Reid said.


"This bill, Mr President, has brought into sharp focus that we have not done enough to reach all our population with education, training, and certification," Reid said during a recent Senate debate on the bill.

He said that in the year 2000 only two per cent of the English-speaking Caribbean population went to university.

Reid pointed out that in 2014, only 14 per cent had obtained tertiary education, 14 per cent with technical certification, and 70 per cent of the workforce had no formal certification. "We need the universities to investigate this situation if we are to get our workforce more productive. This must be of interest to HR (human resources) practitioners, the MOE (Ministry of Education), and Government," he said.