Family ,the issue of quality education being accessible to all children in Jamaica has been the source of numerous debates in Jamaica for decades. There are many factors that affect our education system and while it is always tempting to list them,we find that to be counterproductive. We strongly believe it is time we stopped the discussion and started along the clear path to a viable solution. A solution that will benefit our children, helping our country to grow as we educate and equip the next generation with the necessary skills to succeed.
Jamaica has grown tremendously in terms of education from its humble begins, for that they must be commended as they are on schedule to achieving an 85% literacy rate for children by the year 2015. This is impressive and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated parents, principals, teachers and education ministers who have worked tirelessly to realize this vision.
We took the time to review a few statistically reports on literacy and while Jamaica is ahead of many nations, compared to many of their Caribbean counterparts they could be doing better. Jamaica had an overall 87.9% literacy rate while Trinidad&Tobago had -98.6%,St. Vincent-96%, St. Kitts &Nevis 97.8%, Cuba 99.8% Bahamas- 95.6%, Monsterrat- 97% and Aruba at 96.8%
The need to implement more reading programs in schools while fostering an environment of reading in the homes needs to continue if they are going to reach and exceed their goal of a 85% literacy rate for children.
Other issues plaguing the education system include; overpopulation and under population in schools. Over population is a prominent issue in urban areas throughout the island while underpopulation is prominent issue and a reason for immediate concerns in rural areas.
The Ministry of Education gives a student to teacher ratio of:
PUPIL - TEACHER RATIO
Primary Schools 35:1
All - Age Schools (Grades 1 - 6) 35:1
Primary & Junior High Schools ( Grades 1 - 6) 35:1
All - Age Schools (Grades 7 - 9) 35:1
Primary & Junior High Schools ( Grades 7 - 9) 30:1
Secondary High Schools ( With Grades 7 - 11) 25:1
Secondary High Schools ( With Grades 12 & 13) 20:1
Technical High Schools 20:1
Agricultural High Schools 25:1
Special Education Schools/Units 8:1
School Services Division
However we were able to find student to teacher ratio at 47:1 In School Field Primary and 42:1 at Hasting Primary in Trelawny. Sharp contrasts were found in Hanover at Jericho Primary which had on 28 students and 4 teachers a ratio of 7:1 among others. The underpopulation and overpopulation of schools in Jamaica is a reason for much concern,we are most concerned about the quality of education children are receiving at both ends of this spectrum. If a classroom is too crowded children slip through the cracks, learning becomes arduous, resources become limited and teachers exhausted.
In underpopulated schools resources are limited, structures are dilapidated, children are not challenged which results in students not performing at the recommended level and teacher become unmotivated.
The solution has to be found in the middle which reflects the student to teacher ratio represented in the chart shown above and an environment that is conducive to learning at all levels.
The Jamaican government is aware of these contrasting issues and has been working on mergers which will be beneficial for the students.
"This growing challenge cannot go unchecked and we are exploring several options.... It is something that will have to happen gradually because it will improve the Government's assistance and at the same time we will get better outcomes from the children," Thwaites
Family, the attached link will allow you to take a closer look at the number of schools in the Jamaica, capacity,enrollment etc.
Much Love &Walk Good