School Readiness ▪ Child-Friendly Schools ▪ Improved Educational Outcomes
Children from vulnerable and volatile communities get the services and opportunities they need to develop and excel, benefitting from early childhood interventions and child-friendly learning environments which help pre-primary students to better transition to primary school, and improve performance of primary level students in numeracy and literacy in the first four grades.
Under-five mortality rates (31 per 1,000 live births, 2009) and infant mortality rates (26 per 1,000 live births, 2009) have remained high.
Less than 15 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed at six months and disabilities among children are an estimated 10 per cent.
Despite high levels of access to primary (99.7 per cent) and secondary (83 per cent) schooling, educational achievements are relatively low as measured by national assessments in 2009:
At Grade 1, none of the five sub-tests of the assessment was mastered by more than 24 per cent of the six year olds entering primary school and 18 per cent of them did not master a single sub-test.
At Grade 4, 70 per cent showed mastery of the literacy test (girls 81 per cent; boys 59 per cent) and 45 per cent gained mastery on the numeracy test (girls 55 per cent; boys 36 per cent).
At Grade 6, the average score in four subjects tested is just over 50 per cent.
Of particular concern is the low achievement of boys and children from the poorest and/or most volatile communities.
QUALITY START TO LIFE
· Build capacity at national and community level to deliver key interventions in maternal and child health, screening and referral services and improved early childhood development practices.
QUALITY LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
· Strengthen a range of in-school interventions to improve the child-friendliness of early childhood institutions and primary schools, including the use of positive forms of discipline, provision of services for children with special needs and greater engagement of parents and communities.
LEADERSHIP AND TEACHING PRACTICES
· Develop a system for the on-going professional development of teachers and practitioners in areas related to child development, child-centered teaching, classroom management and lesson planning.
· Provide greater support for parents and foster the use of positive parenting practices by strengthening national coordinating mechanisms and improving the capacity of community-based parent support services.
KNOWLEDGE GENERATION AND MANAGEMENT
· Improve collection, analysis and use of data on quality education and early childhood development, including research on critical areas such as teaching practices, effectiveness of child-friendly approaches, and the experiences of students with GSAT.
Key strategic partners: Ministry of Education, Early Childhood Commission, Ministry of Health, Jamaica Teachers Association, National Council on Education, Social Development Commission, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC).