(JIS) Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Adopt-A-School brunch organized by the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada.
The 23-year-old charitable organization has adopted more than 250 basic schools and early childhood institutions in Jamaica and impacted the lives of more than 50,000 children.
President of PACE Canada, Dr. Mary Anne Chambers, said the basic schools and early childhood institutions give children from three to six years old a better chance of success in life. However, she said many of the schools operate under circumstances that reflect their dire need for support.
“Many schools have inadequate washroom facilities,” said Dr. Chambers. “Some of them are located in open areas without adequate protection from the rain and some house large numbers of children in areas designed to accommodate far fewer numbers.”
Noting that some of the schools are the providers of the main meal for a number of children on a school day, Chambers, the former Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services and former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, said investing in children “is a wise and necessary investment if we are to be able to dream with any confidence of a stronger, more prosperous future for Jamaica”.
Chambers, who is a graduate of Immaculate High School in Kingston, Jamaica, said Holness was invited to be the keynote speaker because of his recognition that early childhood education plays a critical role in ensuring successful outcomes at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education, all of which reside within his portfolio.
Holness has been the Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew since 1997 and the Minister of Education since 2007. He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies and a Master’s Degree in Development Studies.
While in Toronto, Holness is also expected to hold discussions with Ontario’s Minister of Education, Hon. Leona Dombrowsky; Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Hon. John Malloy; representatives of Jamaican past students associations; and members of the Consul General’s Youth Forum. He will also tour training facilities at George Brown College’s Construction and Engineering Technologies campus and the Carpenters Union.
PACE Canada’s Adopt-A-School Brunch will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 14 at the Jamaican Canadian Centre, 995 Arrow Road, Toronto.
To acquire tickets, please call 416-208-3103.