Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Programme benefits to continue for 34 schools in vulnerable areas

Published:Friday | September 22, 2023 | 12:06 AM
Fayval Williams (second left), minister of education and youth, in discussion with school principals Shernet Clarke Tomlinson (second right) of the Edward Seaga Primary, and Colleen Gordon (right) of St Andrew Primary. Sharing in the moment are Oliver Blak
Fayval Williams (second left), minister of education and youth, in discussion with school principals Shernet Clarke Tomlinson (second right) of the Edward Seaga Primary, and Colleen Gordon (right) of St Andrew Primary. Sharing in the moment are Oliver Blake (left), Jamaica Development representative/Policy & Governance team leader and senior governance adviser, FCDO, British High Commission, and Marianne Van Steen, European Union Ambassador to Jamaica.

Students from 34 schools in seven areas declared as zones of special operations will continue to benefit from the Inter-Ministerial School Support Strategy as the programme enters its third year.

Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY), the Ministry of National Security (MNS), the Citizen Security Secretariat at the MNS and the European Union (EU) met in Kingston on Friday, September 15 for the second Annual Partners Summit to review progress made and determine the way forward for this school year.

In her opening remarks Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams noted the importance of leadership and ownership of the strategy at the school level, as well as partnerships with multiple ministries, agencies and departments, international donors, private sector groups and non-governmental organisations.

In her address, European Union Ambassador Marianne Van Steen said, “This is the second summit of its kind that the EU has supported in the context of our support to the government to implement its Citizen Security Plan. We are very happy to do so as to enhance security for Jamaica’s citizens is a top priority. Schools are the backbone of every society and focusing on education is crucial.”

The three-year programme is aimed at improving the social, emotional, behavioural and academic outcomes of over 25,000 students attending the 34 schools in the targeted areas.

Special focus was placed at the summit on addressing literacy, behavioural challenges, and attendance. Key factors identified for the success of the strategy are: adopting data-driven evidence-based practices, coaching and technical support, leadership and ownership at the school level, along with continued partnerships with different stakeholders.

Shauna Trowers, chief technical director at the Ministry of National Security, noted that over the last year, the MNS delivered case management services to schools under the strategy, as well as provided direct financial support for connecting youth to counselling services.

“In keeping with our commitment to an integrated approach to citizen security, we will continue this partnership with the MoEY and the schools to support the identification, risk-assessment and connection to referral services for the highest-risk students,” she added.