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Early Childhood Commission Meets With Private Partners

The Early Childhood Commission (ECC) is inviting support to meet the sector’s various needs. 

The Commission met with private partners and donors on Thursday (November 17) to raise awareness about the entity’s work, while identifying the most critical areas for funding.  

Thursday’s discussion forum, under the theme: ‘Raising the Bar in Early Childhood Development’, was held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston.  

Six categories of need have been identified: resources for developmental/educational programmes; teacher training scholarships to increase the number of qualified practitioners; brain builder centres/parenting support/learning kits; special needs/inclusive classrooms; and support for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in early childhood institutions (ECIs) and regional early childhood development resource centres. 

It is anticipated that, based on the needs expressed, the partners will identify an area of interest that is aligned with the primary objectives of their organisations and make a commitment for support. 

Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, who addressed the partners, noted that “many ECIs need improved facilities, municipality approvals, sanitation support, [and] food handlers permits.”   

She indicated that support for ICT and learning tools, as well as teacher-training scholarships, are also welcomed.   

Chair of the ECC, Trisha Williams-Singh, advised that support from various partners over the years, has enabled 301 ECIs to become certified.  

“Over time, this has resulted in a decrease in the number of delinquent institutions and an increase in children attending ECIs that meet the requirements of the 12 standards,” she pointed out.  

Meanwhile, the ECC is drafting the fourth National Strategic Plan (NSP) to further advance the sector of the five-year period, from 2023 to 2028. 

With an implementation date of March 2023, the Plan will replace the 2018 to 2023 programme, which resulted in several improvements in outcomes at the early childhood level. 

It will build on the foundations of the previous strategic plan, and the first one implemented for 2008 to 2013, by providing a roadmap for the ECC in its regulatory and coordinating capacity. 

The NSP includes five focus areas which serve to assist stakeholders in providing the relevant support and services required for the proper growth and development of children. 

These areas are effective parenting education and support; effective preventative health care; early and effective screening; diagnosis and intervention for at-risk children; the provision of safe, learner-centred, well-maintained ECI facilities; and effective curriculum delivery. 

The ECC, an agency of the Ministry of Education and Youth, is mandated to regulate and coordinate early childhood services in Jamaica.