See text below.
The Government has set aside $1.03 billion in the 2003/04 estimates of expenditure on early childhood education.
During the fiscal year, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture will seek to:
- fully integrate day care into the early childhood programme;
- continue to upgrade resource centres and provide limited training to parents;
- maintain subsidy in basic schools;
- continue the assignment of trained teachers in basic schools; and
- train and certify basic school teachers by utilising the National Council on Technical and Vocational and Education and Training (NCTVET) courses.
There are now 1,894 recognised basic schools across the island with a population of 119,191, and 183 unrecognised basic schools with enrolment of 6,166. In addition, there are 401 day care and home- based centres, catering for approximately 8,829 children.
At the same time, infant schools number 29, with a total enrolment of 9,286, and approximately 333 teachers. These schools operate as "complete schools", unlike infant departments, which are classes at primary and all- age schools.
Early childhood education concerns the development of children up to age five, and involves schools that are day care centres, basic and infant schools, and Infant departments of primary and all-age schools.
A community-based sponsoring body normally manages the basic schools, while Government contributes subsidies for salary, nutrition and class materials.
-Reprinted from The Jamaica Observer