Jamaica has achieved universal enrollment of students from early childhood through the primary levels up to grade nine. However, there remains an urgent need to raise the standards and improve the quality of education. The major challenges in the sector included sector governance, shortcomings in teaching and learning quality, equitable access, and enrollment at the higher levels of the secondary system.
Jamaica’s first national development goal is to empower its citizens to achieve their full potential by providing world-class education. Recognizing the importance of an improved public service delivery system in realizing this goal, Jamaica launched an ambitious Education System Transformation Program (ESTP). The initiative aims to improve learning through a decentralized accountability framework. The cornerstone of the program is a restructured Ministry of Education, supported by six newly established independent agencies that are accountable for results, quality assurance, service delivery, and monitoring of reforms. The agencies are:
- Central Ministry.
- Department of School Services (DSS).
- Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC).
- National Council for Education Leadership (NCEL).
- National Education Inspection (NEI).
- National Education Trust (NET).
In November 2009, the World Bank approved funding for the Education System Transformation Capacity Building Project to support the Jamaica education sector reform and build the capacity of these agencies.