Early Childhood Commission falls short on mandate
AT LEAST 2,494 early childhood institutions in Jamaica have been operating without a registration certificate, in contravention of the law.
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis has reported that the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), which has responsibility to issue registration certificates to early childhood institutions, has failed to do so since it was established 10 years ago.
In an activity-based audit of the ECC, the auditor general said there were early childhood institutions operating on perennial permits while others were operating on expired permits.
"The Early Childhood Commission requires that all early childhood institutions apply to the commission for permission to operate. These institutions are required to be compliant with all 12 established standards in order to qualify for a registration certificate," Monroe Ellis said.
The commission indicated that after inspection, institutions that meet the minimum legal standards are granted a permit to operate for one year. During the period, the early childhood institution should take steps to improve any weaknesses identified and be compliant with all the standards in order to be granted the registration certificate.
FAILED TO SANCTION INSTITUTIONS
The ECC has failed to sanction institutions that are in breach of the Early Childhood Commission Act and Regulations.
Monroe Ellis said this inaction on the part of the commission would compromise efforts undertaken to provide a safe and healthy environment for children, particularly in instances where institutions have been failing the standards consistently.
The ECC has overall responsibility for early childhood development in all early childhood institutions, including day-care centres, pre-schools, basic schools and infant schools.
The commission's mission is: "An integrated and coordinated delivery of quality early childhood programmes and services, which provide equity and access for children zero to eight years within healthy, safe and nurturing environments."