By Derrick Scott
WASHINGTON, USA -- The Jamaican Diaspora Education Task Force has joined forces with the Jamaica Teacher’s Association (JTA) to stage the first education summit between February 18 and 21, 2014. The summit, which will be in two phases, will kick-off in Montego Bay and bring together over 300 individuals from throughout the education sector in Western Jamaica, as well as representatives from overseas.
Diaspora Advisory Board member for Midwest USA, Leo Gilling
On February 19, the conference will move east to Port More, where approximately 500 education advocates are expected to attend. It will conclude on Friday with a special sitting in Kingston.
According to Diaspora board representative for the Midwest USA, Leo Gilling, the main objective of the summit is to discuss ways to improve education in Jamaica, understand the goals of each organization that advocates for education, identify their projects, determine any overlap or duplication, recognize gaps, and leverage past successes.
Other objectives include identifying ways to immerse the Diaspora into the education system from the early childhood level through the tertiary level in order to assist in the advancement of education, explore and facilitate education both internally and externally as part of the education process from the beginning, participate in the creation of policies and policy changes to the existing system, including curricula development, administration and implementation, be a resource that can be utilized for the solicitation and provision of funding for sustainable education projects in Jamaica and to contribute to nation building, thus contributing to Jamaica realizing its goal under Vision2030 of becoming the place of choice to live, work and raise families, Gilling added.
Educators and representatives from various alumni and Diaspora organizations from institutions across the USA, Canada and England are expected to participate in the summit. In addition, principals, teachers, administrators, counselors, student council executives, members of the parent teachers associations and representatives from the ministry of education will attend.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites will declare the summit open and deliver the keynote address. Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with responsibility for the Diaspora, Arnaldo Brown, and president of the JTA, Dr Mark Nicely, will also address the summit.