With the knowledge that the Jamaican education sector will require ‘transformation’ if the nation’s human capital is to be enhanced, Dr Adrian Stokes, head of the newly created Education Transformation Oversight Committee (ETOC), has outlined the necessary steps to be taken to transform the education system.
Setting an October 31, 2022 deadline, Stokes, in his address to attendees at the committee’s first press conference, held at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday (July 6), informed that a final project implementation plan and budget for the education sector’s planned transformation would be decided on by the aforementioned date.
The need for the sector’s transformation was first highlighted by the results of the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission (JETC) report released in January, which identified the country’s education sector as one in “crisis”.
In an effort to address the sector’s shortcomings, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during his contribution to the 2022-2023 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 17, announced the appointment of the Education Transformation Oversight Committee (ETOC).
According to the committee’s chair, the group has been assigned a mandate to comprehensively review the JETC report and recommendations, develop a plan to realise transformation within the sector, and oversee the execution of the transformation.
To this end, Stokes shared: “Since coming into being ETOC has focused on building the necessary infrastructure to support its work.”
This preparatory work has included the clarification of the terms of reference for important roles needed to aid in the transformation, the creation of a communication plan, and collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) to get an understanding of its current capacity constraints.
Following the press conference, the ETOC chair said the next steps would be to activate the strategic development branch of MOEY, engage personnel in the capacity of Chief Transformation Officer and engage a consultant to finalise the implementation plan of how the sector is to be transformed.
According to Education Minister Fayval Williams, the JETC report provided more than 190 general recommendations to transform the sector, of which 54 have been prioritised.
She noted that the recommendations that have been prioritised are those the committee believes will have the biggest impact and can be implemented in the shortest possible time.
Williams shared that, in the six months since the release of the JETC report, “we at the ministry have taken this report into the heart of the Ministry of Education and Youth to the various senior management groups… because I believe we first have to know what is in the report (and) accept its truths before we can convince anyone else”.
She added: “We have to believe that the reforms recommended will result in more of our children becoming literate and numerate… and then all these reforms will show tangible and visible changes in our education sector.”
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