Government to Provide Lunch and Breakfast for 125,000 Early Childhood Students

Hague Infant School - Early Childhood

The Government of Jamaica is to provide 125,000 early childhood students with bread and breakfast daily, starting this September, 2015.

The initiative is expected to cost the government and people of Jamaica, $200 million per year. This was revealed by Education Minister, Reverend Ronald Thwaites, at the Early Childhood Commission’s back-to-school fair at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, on August 21.

This is a laudable initiative that will help many poor families in Jamaica (although many were on the PATH programme and already received free lunches).

 

From the JIS

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says come September, the Government will be providing breakfast and lunch for some 125,000 early childhood students daily.

Speaking at the Early Childhood Commission’s back-to-school fair at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, on August 21, the Minister said this programme is expected to cost the Government at least $200 million yearly.

The Minister told parents, teachers, children and agencies with responsibility for child care, that early childhood education is important for each child across the island.

Rev. Thwaites emphasised that a good early childhood education requires  “teachers who love the children and who have the heart as well as the head for human development.”

This, he said, requires teachers in infant schools and daycare centres to be properly trained.

“We are trying to do more and more, so that before we reach 2018/2019 there is going to be a trained teacher in every one of our early childhood institutions – almost 3,000 of them,” the Minister informed.

According to the Minister, the number of trained teachers has doubled in the last three years.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry is committed to improving the standard for every student at the early childhood level, and the merging of basic schools with infant departments of primary schools will continue in the new school year.

He also reminded that all early childhood institutions that are in operation should be registered with the Early Childhood Commission.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission, Dr. Joan Reid, encouraged parents and practitioners of early childhood education to pay close attention to what the social and learning environment of children, which was replicated at the fair, ought to look like.

At the fair, the Health Ministry provided free immunization for children. Parents, guardians and other individuals also benefitted from a number of presentations from the Ministry of Health, National Parent Teachers Association, National Parenting Support Commission and the Early Childhood Stimulation Programme.

 

Curated from: The JIS

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