Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on Wednesday, July 21, launched the High-Level Commission of Education Transformation.
The Commission aims to build a world-class education system that is accessible to all Jamaicans.
The members of the Commission will comprehensively review and assess the education system, including its structure and operation processes, to recommend actions for change. He added that his charge to the Commission is to do two critical things:
“The first is to advise us as to what we need to do, as a Government, to create a world-class educational system geared towards enabling our people to fulfill their potential and develop the skills base and human capital required for Jamaica to compete, successfully, in the 21st-century global economy. The second is to ensure inclusivity. The system we build must ensure that all our children and learners have access to this world-class education system that we build,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, the Prime Minister reinforced that the Government must take decisive steps to improve the quality of the education system for all.
“We owe it to the current and future generations of Jamaican children to give them the same opportunity, and better, to uplift themselves. Under our current education system, access to the best schools is too highly correlated with socioeconomic status, and we need to change that”, added the Prime Minister.
According to the new World Bank, the human capital index ranks Jamaica as one of the countries that have made significant human capital gains. Despite the progress, the World Bank’s study states that children born in Jamaica today will only be fifty-four percent as productive if they enjoyed complete education and full health.
In that regard, the Prime Minister highlighted that the country was not getting the impact of what was spent on education hence the system needs to be transformed.
“It is evident that there is the need for another comprehensive review of the public education system, covering all levels of education, early childhood, primary, secondary, vocational, and higher education,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister asserted that the solution of Jamaica’s economic and social ills- poverty, crime and violence, and economic stagnation- lies in the education and socialization of our children.
The Commission is headed by renowned Professor Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. Other members of the Commission are:
- Professor Eleanor Brown, Professor of Law and International Affairs at the Pennsylvania State University
- Professor David Tennant, Professor of Development Finance and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies
- Professor Michael Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the West Indies
- Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, Professor of Child Health, Child Development and Behaviour, University of the West Indies, she’s also Chair of the National Commission on Violence Prevention
- Ms. Erica Simmons, Executive Director, Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, Caribbean Maritime Institute
- Most Reverend Donald Reece, Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston and Chairman of the Ecumenical Education Committee
- Professor Colin Gyles, Acting President, University of Technology
- Dr. Dana Morris- Dixon, Assistant General Manager, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Jamaica National Group Limited
- Dr. Jeffrey Hall, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Producers Group Limited
- Mr. Gordon Swaby, Chief Executive Officer of EduFocal Limited
- Mrs. Esther Tyson, Former Principal of Ardenne High;
- Dr. Garth Anderson, Principal, Churches Teachers’ College
- Ms. Florette Plummer, Former Principal of the Naggo Head Primary School.