The Bethlehem Moravian College officially opened its Early Childhood Centre of Excellence in Malvern, St. Elizabeth on December 6.
The Centre was constructed by the CHASE Fund at a cost of $40.3M and will serve as a training facility for student teachers specializing in Early Childhood Education.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Nesta Morgan, was on hand for the opening and commented on the value of the early childhood sector. “The Government recognises the importance of the early childhood sector as a foundation for growth within the society, which then logically means that the Government must play a more interventionist role in the sector,” Minister Morgan said.
The Bethlehem Moravian College’s Early Childhood Centre of Excellence is located on the property of the 160-year-old college. The new facility features three classrooms, bathrooms, office, kitchen, dining area and a demonstration room.
CEO of the CHASE Fund, W. Billy Heaven, said that the “state-of-the-art demonstration facility will allow for best practice in the delivery of early childhood education”. “It is well established that early childhood education offers the highest return on investment and children who benefit from high quality early childhood education generally make a positive contribution to society,” he said.
The Bethlehem Moravian College (BMC) is the sole government-owned Tertiary institution in the parish of St. Elizabeth. In an interview with JIS News, Lowel G. Morgan, Chairman of the BMC’s Board of Management highlighted that “BMC is a major player in the tertiary education sector in southwest Jamaica, therefore, the establishment of its early childhood centre which is accessible to all early childhood institutions in neighbouring parishes, will advance current and future educational output”.
The CHASE Fund places emphasis projects at the critical stages of the early childhood education level. Projects are focused on building infant schools and resource centres; equipping and upgrading early childhood institutions; health screening and providing scholarships for specialist training in Early Childhood Education.