The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development on Wednesday announced plans to introduce Universal Early Childhood Education by September 2012.
Minister for Education and Human Resource Development Hon. Petter Saint Jean told a national symposium on Early Childhood Development that his ministry remained committed to the provision of high quality education for all.
“We believe, therefore, that in order to be successful we must get it right from the start.
“I want at this juncture to inform you that your government has taken a decision to work towards the attainment of Universal Early Childhood Education by September 2012. Let us remember that while Rome was built; it was not built in a day. Therefore, we have embarked on achieving our goals on a phase model and we need the commitment of all stakeholders,” Saint Jean said.
Saint Jean said some primary schools will have to be upgraded to meet the necessary criteria for Early Childhood Education.
“In the coming weeks the Ministry of Education will engage all stake holders. The Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructural Development will be engaged in providing us with the necessary technical expertise for these infrastructural projects,” he explained.
According to Mr. Saint Jean Early Childhood Education forms an integral part of an individual’s life and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development was cognizant of the need to lay a foundation for life.
“There are still too many of our precious little ones who are not exposed to positive early childhood experiences. I speak here of communities like Penville, Silverlake, Dubique, Tarish Pit, Yam piece and others which, by no doing of their own, are somewhat disadvantaged.
“In the new school year we will ensure that parents are relieved from the financial nightmares of having to pay those fees which in many cases are prohibitive,” Saint Jean said.
He said the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development provides a subvention every term to Early Childhood facilities that are registered with the Ministry of Education.
The ministry has also ensured that there is a national curriculum that is developmentally appropriate for preschool children and is working towards harmonizing the programmes for daycares.
Saint Jean encouraged stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, to provide support for the development of early childhood education.
“I want to solicit the commitment of the Ministry of Health in providing the early surveillance, screening and stimulation for our children from zero to three years,” he said.
“Get it right from the start. The education system is not just the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, but also that of a number of stakeholders,” he added.