Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Professor Orlando Patterson, Chairman of the Education Transformation Commission
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a comprehensive review of the organisation and output of Jamaica's technical and vocational education training system following receipt of the Education Transformation Commission's report.
The report was made public on Thursday.
Mr. Holness said the review will be led by Professor Orlando Patterson, Chairman of the Education Transformation Commission, and will include an institutional inspection of the HEART/NSTA Trust.
"The review will look at the demand side of TVET, considering how to enable the Jamaican TVET system to better meet the needs of young people, employers, government policy priorities and the economy, as well as the supply side, considering how to build capacity and capability. This will include transformation of the HEART/NSTA Trust, including options for institutional change and reform," he revealed.
The process will be completed within six months.
The last comprehensive review of the public education system was in 2004.
Mr. Holness said the new review was important to capture all the changes, technological and otherwise, that have occurred since the last review was done.
"[I]n the nearly two decades since 2004, the world has seen massive changes. Many of the things we take for granted today did not exist in 2004. The iPhone, Twitter, WhatsApp, the Tesla model...didn't exist. The pace and direction of technological change and its impact on society is revealed by examining the list of most valuable companies in the world by market value in 2004 versus today," he argued.
Recommendations of report
The report from the Education Transformation Commission contains several recommendations for improved management and outcomes of Jamaica's education system.
These include amendments to education regulations, the establishment of a child opportunity fund and more frequent audits of schools.
Professor Patterson said there is need to reallocate resources to develop early childhood education in Jamaica.
He also recommended an overhaul of the teaching curriculum for early childhood institutions.
"The way we train our teachers and the way our teachers teach in the school will have to move from one in which the teacher stands and delivers, and the students passively receive. We have scores of recommendations about the teaching profession, about teacher training and teaching itself, as well as curriculum and assessment as we move towards the realisation of or incorporation of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education," Professor Patterson outlined.
The Prime Minister said a detailed plan will be developed for implementation of recommendations from the Commission and a timeline will be set for implementation.
Mr. Holness disclosed that a monitoring and oversight committee will be appointed to publicly report on the progress of implementation.
The oversight committee will comprise members of the education commission and key stakeholders.
"The ministry has to be responsible for the implementation. As far as possible, we must use the existing resources within the ministry, and where there are capacity gaps, we must build capacity to address those gaps. In order to be sustainable, the reforms cannot be undertaken from outside the ministry. This will not build the capacity within the ministry to sustain the reforms," Mr. Holness suggested.