Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Government is committed to an education system that promotes equity and inclusiveness, providing opportunities for all students up to age 18.
As such, he indicated that focus will be placed on interventions at the earliest level, even before children enter the formal system.
The Minister said he has “asked that the system pull back a little and strengthen the foundation” by engaging persons at the community level, ensuring that vulnerable homes and parents are being taught about good parenting and children are properly developed and stimulated from birth.
“It doesn’t make sense we spend money at the top end without fixing the root. What we want is equity in readiness and preparation for the education system,” he said.
Minister Reid was speaking during the Ministry’s back-to school conference for regions three, four and five held recently at the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Mount Salem, St. James.
Additionally, he noted that a K-13 strategy has been employed where every child up to 18 years old will be properly stimulated and engaged.
“So, the overarching framework is that the youth in Jamaica no longer should detach themselves from education, training and certification because our aspiration is that by the time our youth in Jamaica reaches age 18, they must have acquired training and certification equivalent to at least an Occupational Associate Degree,” he outlined.
Senator Reid noted that part of the K-13 strategy is to provide opportunities for all students to participate and learn.
“We need special education institutions, inclusive educational institutions in every parish. As systems become more inclusive, efforts to build the capacity of schools to respond to the needs of students with exceptionalities, from those with higher levels of intellectual abilities to those who need special care and attention [ will be increased],” he said.
The back-to-school conference was held under the theme: ‘Ramp It Up and Fix It Up; K-13 – An Inclusive Education for All.’