Our vision: Support all children to learn in a safe environment.
Jamaica’s children have lost an estimated 1.3 billion in-class hours due to COVID-19 school closures. The most vulnerable children who struggle to access remote education have been hit the hardest and there are still a significant number of students that remain disengaged. Attendance at the best-performing public schools continues to be closely correlated with a child’s socioeconomic background and the strength of home-school partnerships vary widely.
On average, Jamaican children complete 11.7 years of schooling, but those years are equivalent to only 7.2 years of learning when benchmarked against top-performing systems. This reveals a notable learning gap of 4.5 years, which disproportionately impacts children in the poorer quintiles, as access to the best performing schools continues to be highly correlated with the socioeconomic background of children. Approximately 50,000 adolescents of secondary-school age are out-of-school, and three out of five of these children are boys. Pregnancy and financial problems are the main reasons why children from the poorest households stop attending school.
School dropout, poor educational outcomes and lack of opportunities have contributed to an increase in youth not in education, employment or training who represent about 35 per cent of 14-24-year-olds.
Our Education programme aims for ALL children to have equal access to safe, inclusive quality education by:
- Ensuring young boys and girls, especially those with disabilities and/or living in poverty, benefit from equitable, resilient, and inclusive Early Childhood Development (ECD) and early childhood education policies and quality services, including in emergencies.
- Strengthening the education system to deliver resilient, equitable, inclusive, quality and relevant education services with a focus on children with disabilities, children at risk of dropping out, out-of-school children and those affected by emergencies.
- Increasing access of at-risk adolescent girls and boys to opportunities to gain skills for life, learning, employability, and transition into the workforce.
To achieve these goals, we work with various partners on different strategies such as:
Learning recovery and resilience: Reopen school safely, help children recover from learning loss and create a school system that is more resilient against future shocks. Update management information systems and school safety structures, with a focus on inclusion, positive behavioural frameworks, psychosocial first aid and education in emergencies.
Early childhood inclusiveness and strengthening: Continue to support the early childhood sector to achieve full inclusion and improve readiness to transition to Grade 1, through the development of tools as part of overall system strengthening as well as through teacher capacity building and strategic policy development.
Evidence-based assistance: Provide technical assistance to develop educational policy and conduct relevant legal and policy review and research towards system strengthening.
Equal access to quality education: Increase access, retention and completion of education by the most disadvantaged children. Improve the quality of education through teacher capacity-building, home-school partnerships and widespread availability of digital learning solutions. Expand second-chance education and skills training for at-risk adolescents and adolescents with disabilities.
Transition to work for adolescents and young people: Support and expand second-chance education and skill training for at-risk adolescents and adolescents with disabilities to facilitate their opportunities for employment.
Early Childhood Commission
Partner type: Government
The ECC provides an integrated and coordinated delivery of high-quality early childhood programmes and services, which provide equity and access for children zero to eight years within healthy, safe and nurturing environments.
Food for the Poor
Partner Type: Civil society organization
Food for The Poor works to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children through emergency relief aid and programmes in the areas of housing, food, medical, water, sanitation, education, agriculture, outreach and micro-enterprise.
Jamaica Teaching Council
Partner type: Government
The JTC’s fundamental purpose is to professionalize the teaching profession. The Council advocates for the teaching profession, and its ultimate goal is for the teaching to become the profession of choice.
Ministry of Education and Youth
Partner Type: Government
The Ministry of Education and Youth's mandate is to provide quality care and education in an innovative, inclusive and enabling environment thereby creating socially conscious and productive Jamaicans. UNICEF works closely with specific units within the MOEY including the Guidance and Counselling Unit (GCU), the Special Education Unit (SEU), the Core Curriculum Unit (CCU), the Safe Schools Unit (SSU) and the Health and family Life Education (HFLE) Unit.
National College for Educational Leadership
Partner type: Government
The NCEL develops and supports educational leaders to create and sustain effective schools, thereby contributing to national development.
National Road Safety Council
Partner type: Non-profit, public-private partnership
The NRSC is the local organization with responsibility to develop and implement road safety promotional activities, conduct public education programmes, and to lobby for road safety awareness at a national level.