KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday January 11, 2018 – The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is taking steps to fully fund the education of students up to 18 years old.
Minister Ruel Reid says once finalized, this will be implemented over a three-year period.
“So I am now trying to get us to this bold statement of zero to 18 public free-education strategy that gets all our students up to the minimum of having an associate degree that will be paid for by the State. That is the policy position that I am articulating,” he said at the annual conference of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) on Wednesday.
“When I go to Cabinet on Monday (January 14), I will say to the Prime Minister, this is going to be our contribution. This is how were are going to revolutionize Jamaica to make sure that we have every one of our young people trained and certified at least to the minimum of an associate degree, facilitated through the collaboration of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica.”
The Education Minister informed that he would be meeting with representatives from the CCCJ to outline the feasibility of the public free-education strategy.
“I have said to Permanent Secretary (Dean-Roy Bernard), we are going to work with you (the CCCJ) to operationalize that; we are not going to put it on you this year. We are going to show you, mathematically, how it can be done on a phased basis over the next three years, because we have to write to the Ministry of Finance and give them a three-year notice to fully implement it,” Reid said.
He further noted that the Government is seeking to provide a better avenue for students whose parents are unable to fund their education, while pointing out the need to stem the issue of persons being employed without the required qualification and training.
Reid added that the education sector must be revolutionized to prepare students for a modernized job market.
“If we do not empower them (students) to align with the fourth industrial revolution, then they are going to have their own revolution. Every one of these young people, when they leave school and have no answer and have nowhere to go, becomes a liability to the State. Therefore, it makes sense for the State to… make sure that every one of these people is rescued,” Minister Reid emphasized.