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Resource shifts coming to tackle low education funding

Published:Friday | May 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites says he will be reallocating resources in the education sector, including redeploying teachers across the system to counter the effects of the limited funds allotted to early-childhood development.

In the latest Estimates of Expenditure, $2.4 billion has been allocated to early childhood for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. This is 3.2 per cent of the overall allocation for education which is $76.1 billion.

Thwaites told The Gleaner yesterday that the figures may appear to be meaningless but there are many measures that can be taken within other allocations.

"There are tremendous elements in the educational enterprise where there is need for reallocations. There are schools, for example, that have teachers way beyond the complement needed for their present enrolment. We need to rationalise that," he said.

"There is space in some primary schools that is not being taken up by primary school-age students and so, therefore, we want to devote that to infant departments which will upgrade the outcomes of early childhood and so we are using existing resources better and more pointedly towards early-childhood education this time around," the minister explained.

Full picture not shown

Thwaites further said the Budget is in the standard form for the Ministry of Education, so it would not have indicated the full picture of how the funds will be devoted to the sector.

He added: "There are large numbers of teachers who are not now assigned to early childhood who will be put in the government early-childhood institutions. Additionally, there is a large chunk of the provision for educational materials, which will be devoted anew to early-childhood materials."