Barbados will not meet the early childhood education aspect of the UNESCO Education for All goals by 2015 as stipulated; however, the specifications for that particular objective will be met by 2018.
That assurance came from Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, while speaking on Wednesday at the ground-breaking ceremony of a nursery school at Gall Hill, Christ Church, which is being built by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
Explaining that the two-year delay was due largely to economic challenges, the Minister pointed out that Barbados had completed all other goals outlined by the Education for All initiative.
???In 2000, the world came up with the Education for All initiative [was created] because we recognised that across the world, there were millions of children who were not getting basic or foundational education at the primary level ??? especially in Asia, Africa and some parts of the Caribbean. In Barbados, we committed to satisfying early childhood education initiatives by 2015.
???The area in which we fell down was the early childhood care and development. All the other areas we had satisfied before, and it is only a matter of maintaining that quality and trajectory and working on early childhood care and development. We are a little way behind but I have assured UNESCO that by 2018, we will meet 100 per cent capacity for our children,??? he stated.
Mr. Jones added that the soon to be constructed nursery school, along with five others planned by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, was a step forward in reaching the required targets by 2018. The other schools will be built in the Oldbury/Gemswick area in St. Philip; Government Hill, St. Michael; Sayers Court, Christ Church; and Holders Hill and St. Albans in St. James.
Also speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony was Chairman of the Maria Holder Trust, Christopher Holder, who noted that it was the goal of the Trust to assist in meeting the demand for spaces at the nursery level, by constructing a number of nursery schools. He noted that the first such school was constructed in Sharon, St. Thomas, in 2011.