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January 2, 2013
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Education ministry to merge basic and primary schools

Thisyear, the Ministry of Education will begin the process of merging uneconomical and ineffective basic schools into some of the more than 200 primary education institutions across the island.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Reverend Ronald Thwaites recently, during an interview on the Jamaica Information Service's (JIS) 'Issues and Answers' programme with Ian Boyne.

Rev. Thwaites explained that the merger of basic schools into the primary schools will be done where there are places and trained teachers available.

"We have trained over 8,000 teachers this past summer, most of them in early-childhood education because prior to that, only 15 per cent of the early-childhood teachers had any training," he said.

Of the more than 2,600 early-childhood institutions, 1,909 are basic schools; 134 are infant departments; 460 are privately operated institutions such as kindergartens, and the others are nursery and day-care centres.

On another matter, Rev. Thwaites informed that the ministry will be undertaking a review of the Education Code as it is in need of major reform.

"We have the consent of the leadership of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and we are proceeding in the same manner towards that, beginning in January 2013," he informed.

The Education Code outlines a series of procedures to address disciplinary matters, natural justice, the right of representation and appeal, among other issues.

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