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Friday, April 14, 2006 

Increased Focus on Education and Training to Reduce Poverty

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Governor General, His Excellency Professor Kenneth Hall delivering the 2006/07 Throne Speech at the opening of the 2006/07 parliamentary Year at Gordon House in Kingston today (April 12).

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, has said government would be placing increased focus on education and training as part of efforts to reduce poverty.
Professor Hall made the statement in his throne speech in the House of Representatives today (April 12).

He noted that while progress has been made in addressing poverty and its adverse implications, greater efforts were required to increase the rate of reduction and to avoid any relapse.

To this end, he said, the government would continue to streamline existing poverty reduction programmes, but "ever-greater emphasis will be placed on dealing with the problem 'upstream' via education and training."

To achieve the goals, the Governor-General informed, focus would be placed on early childhood education, with special emphasis given to the work of the Early Childhood Commission.
"In support of its work, great emphasis is being placed on the training of teachers in basic schools and the incorporation of a nutritional programme supported by the Ministry of Education and the CHASE Fund," he stated.

CHASE, in fulfilling its mandate to support Early Childhood Education, had already approved some $217 million for building and upgrading basic schools or resource centres, the Governor-General pointed out, while some $44 million has been allocated to the training of early childhood practitioners, and $66 million for nutritional support.

"Universal Secondary Education will be achieved following the construction of eight (8) new schools and the expansion of twenty-seven (27) others as they will result in the creation of 14,000 new places by September 2007," the Governor General said.

Turning to the e-learning project between the Ministries of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology, and Education and Youth, Professor Hall said that the initiative would be an important element in the process to transform the educational landscape. The project will focus on the high school segment of the education system.

"The primary goal is to increase the quality of education in these schools. It will be implemented in some 150 high schools over the next three to four years at a cost of $325 million (US$50 million) and funded from the Universal Access Fund operated by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology," the Governor-General informed.

The throne speech marks the beginning of the 2006/07 legislative year.

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