World Bank increases support for education in Jamaica

THE Government of Jamaica and the World Bank on Monday signed a $30-million agreement aimed at improving teaching practices, inclusiveness and learning conditions; reaching more vulnerable students; and is also focused on the use of information for decision-making within the education system.

The project is expected to benefit some 150,000 secondary students along with 6,000 teachers, school principals, Ministry of Education and Youth staff, and education policymakers and practitioners.

The project will also provide approximately 2,400 students — at least half of who will be girls — with access to a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) secondary school.

The STEM school will also address existing gaps for vulnerable students, particularly boys, living in underserved areas where schools are currently functioning over capacity.

“Jamaica is making noteworthy strides in education; however, challenges persist. In secondary education there are issues with completion, equity and low student performance. This new project aims to bolster the Jamaican education system by enhancing access for the most disadvantaged students and improving the education outcomes,” said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank country director for Caribbean countries.

The project will also equip teachers to deliver the existing curriculum through better instructional practices, and will improve the use of assessments to support learning. Special attention will be given to digital and socio-emotional skills within the classroom.

In endorsing the agreement, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke said, “Jamaica’s growth and development depends critically on human capital. Human capital development is a priority for the Government of Jamaica; key to achieving this is equitable access to quality education. As such, we are pleased to partner with the World Bank on this critical project which will help the GOJ significantly improve education outcomes.”

Additionally, the project will facilitate the creation of an effective information system that will enhance management of the education system by enabling the implementation of precisely targeted early intervention strategies to bolster student retention, with a specific focus on secondary education.

The $30-million loan is financed through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and was signed by Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams, Clarke, and Burunciuc.