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Education Minister Wants Infant Department in Every Primary School


JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says he intends to establish an Infant Department at each primary school that is currently operating without one.


Speaking with JIS News during a visit to Jack’s Hill Primary School in St. Andrew on Monday (January 15), Senator Reid said it is imperative for all primary schools to have an Infant Department attached, and to ensure that it is operating based on the 12 operating standards outlined by the Early Childhood Commission.


He said the Infant Department at Jack’s Hill Primary School is a good example of what he hopes to see being operated at each primary school.


“This is the kind of standard that we are promoting. I’m very happy to see this particular environment well used. The facility looks very conducive to our precious infants, and I know that good work is being done here. This is the kind of environment we are trying to promote within our public schools,” the Minister said.


“The Early Childhood Commission has been pushing this with 12 standards (staffing, developmental/educational programmes, interactions and relationships with children, physical environment, indoor and outdoor equipment, health, nutrition, safety, child rights, interactions with parents and community members, administration and finance), so when we look at the facilities for infant schools, they are now similar to private institutions,” he told JIS News.


Senator Reid said the Ministry has started renovating some Infant Departments at primary schools across Jamaica as well as implementing some.


“We are using money from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund to help establish these Infant Departments,” he said.


The purpose of the Minister’s visit was to announce that the Ministry has approved $10 million in the next financial year, to pave a roadway leading to the school and to construct a perimeter fence.


CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (second left), speaks with (from left) teacher, infant department at Jack’s Hill Primary School, Shawn Thompson; the school’s Board Chairman, Jermain Nairne; and Principal, Duane Forbes, during his visit to the school in St. Andrew on January 15.