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Digicel Foundation impacts early-childhood education

Published:Wednesday | June 5, 2019 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes, speaking at a recent ECC Professional Development Institute training session in Montego Bay.

Western Bureau:

Demonstrating its commitment to and support of Jamaica’s education sector, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation recently partnered with the Early Childhood Commission’s (ECC) Professional Development Institute to provide professional training to more than 1,000 teachers to enhance the learning experience for children in basic and infant schools across the country.

The event, which was held recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, was staged under the theme ‘Creating Quality Learning Environments for Strong Foundations’ and provided the teachers with valuable lessons on how to develop children’s cognitive skills so as to help them to enhance their ability to focus, learn, and solve problems.

It also covered topics such as teacher development and professionalism, creating active learning environments, using technology in the classroom, addressing behavioural challenges, and improving student health and safety.

“Our sponsorship of this event fits in with our long-term goals in education. It is all about building a strong support base for our children in their first 1,000 days,” said Karlene Dawson, chief executive officer of the Digicel Foundation. “We commend the ECC for its strategic focus and sense of purpose as it seeks to offer its teachers opportunities for career development and ongoing training. This capacity building is critical in helping to raise and maintain standards in the sector.”


In lauding the Digicel Foundation for its support, Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes, executive director of the ECC, praised the foundation for recognising the need for the investment in the nation’s human capital.

“The Early Childhood Commission embarked on a journey to train practitioners with the aim to fill the professional development gaps in the sector. Thanks to organisations such as Digicel Foundation for recognising the need for the investment in our human capital,” said DeGrasse-Deslandes.

“This contribution is invaluable. You have helped practitioners who will, in turn, impact the lives of hundreds of children, one at a time.

“On behalf of the team at ECC, I express sincere gratitude and look forward to partnering with you for the next staging of ECC’s Professional Development Institute,” DeGrasse-Deslandes added.

During the event, the late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga was one of three stalwarts who were honoured by the ECC for their contributions to early-childhood development in Jamaica. The other awardees were Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, former chairman of the ECC, and Maxine Henry-Wilson, former minister of education. Since 2017, the Digicel Foundation has supported the ECC in its ongoing efforts to have more early-childhood institutions registered, helping four infant schools to reach the required 12 operating standards. There are currently 167 certified early-childhood institutions islandwide.