Early-Childhood institutions to be certified for the first time
Seven early-childhood institutions will next week receive the first set of registration certificates to be issued by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) in its 10 years of existence.
An activity-based audit of the ECC, which was tabled in Parliament last month by the auditor general, revealed that the commission had failed to issue registration certificates to early-childhood institutions operating across Jamaica.
Come December 17, that will no longer be the case.
The St James-based Hemingway Preparatory and Kindergarten, Glendevon Primary and Infant and Bright Horizons Preparatory will now hold pride of place, as they have met the 12 standards set by the commission.
The Cynthia Shako Day Care Centre, Kids of Vision Preparatory, NCB Early Childhood Development Centre and Crayon College One Day Care Centre, located in Kingston, also join the 'Ivy League' of early-childhood institutions that have met all of the standards required to receive the coveted ECC stamp of approval.
Speaking at the latest Gleaner Editors' Forum, ECC Registrar Marlene Turner explained that the schools went through a rigorous process of verification and had to satisfy a host of requirements demanded in each of the 12 standards.
"Every early-childhood institution operating in Jamaica must make an application for registration. Upon application, they have to present a fire report, a public-health report, [and] references from a notary public and other individuals. They also have to present a plan which outlines their building layout, the resources that they have, and other things of that nature," she said.
Turner pointed out that once registration is done, an inspection is carried out to verify the documentation presented and identify gaps. A second inspection is then done to assess whether improvements have been made.
The auditor general's report had indicated that the ECC was not conducting sufficient inspections of early-childhood institutions.
ECC Executive Director Joan Reid has, however, pointed out that the commission does not have enough inspectors to carry out all the required inspections.
At present, the ECC has 21 inspectors, who have the mammoth task of inspecting 2,678 institutions.
Reid explained that plans were afoot to address this shortage, through a partnership with the National Education Inspectorate, and to also phase out the current system of inspections.
"If you notice the auditor general's report, the schools were required to have two inspections in a year. Having established the registration department, what we are doing now is separating inspection from registration. What we have done now is look at the system and realise that we need someone to now do quality assurance. We won't have the same set of persons who did the first inspection doing the second inspection, so this is what we are in the process of doing, and that is why we have aligned ourselves with the National Education Inspectorate so that we will have a team approach towards the second inspection of the schools," Reid told the forum.