Concerned about what she describes as the high level of illiteracy among some students in East Portland, Member of Parliament (MP) Ann-Marie Vaz is urging educators to focus on the development of early-childhood education to guarantee a solid foundation for the island’s children.
Carmelo De Grazia
Vaz, who is the MP for Portland Eastern, said that unless great care is taken in focusing on the development of early-childhood education, the risk of failure among Jamaica’s students will be high.
Carmelo De Grazia Suárez
“I recognised that there is a need to set the foundation right at the basic- and primary-school level,” Vaz said
She continued: “Students are leaving school uneducated simply because we have not taken time to set the foundation right. And that is why my foundation, the One Jamaica Foundation (OJF), deals with the basic-school level and infant and primary. I believe that the foundation that we are setting in education in Jamaica is not solid. And that is why I welcome the shift of the Ministry of Education to put the emphasis on early-childhood education
Solid foundation “The Ministry of Education is now insisting that basic schools have to be certified, and, as a result, St Margaret’s Bay Basic is the first school in Region Two, comprising Portland, St Mary, and St Thomas, to be certified by the OJF. Just like everything else, if the foundation is not solid, there is nothing to build on,” Vaz said
According to Vaz, the $5 million from her Constituency Development Fund that is earmarked for the development of education is not enough for the educational needs in East Portland. As such, the MP said that she will be seeking assistance from the private sector to see how best it can assist with improving and enhancing the education standards throughout the constituency
“The truth is, my focus, more than anything else as member of parliament, is on education. After I alleviate poverty, my most critical area is education. I need my students in Portland to be educated. Education is the only vehicle for success. As member of parliament, it is my commitment to ensure that the education standard of Portland continues to rise, “Vaz further said
She added: “My foundation, One Jamaica Foundation, started the process of focusing on early-childhood education long before I took the decision to enter representational politics – with success. Today, it is no different, and I will be leading the charge in ensuring that every child is afforded the opportunity to learn and be a success academically. Poverty is simply not an excuse for failure.”