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Caribbean Journal of Education

Decentralization of the Public Education System in Jamaica: Learning from the Experiences of Local Government and the Public Health Sector

Publication Date: 
September 2009

The Jamaican education system is currently on a path of transformation. As outlined in the recommendations of the Task Force on Educational Reform (2004) report, it is envisaged that by 2015 significant progress will be made in student performance and the education system as a whole. One important plank of this process is the decentralization of the education system. With decentralization being implemented in the health sector and in particular the Ministry of Health (MOH) since 1998 and Local Government since 1994, what lessons can be learned from their experiences? This paper seeks to analyze the experiences of decentralization being carried out by these two entities and to identify lessons for the education system. Specifically, the structural changes necessary for empowering the entities under decentralization will be explored. These include (a) the level of autonomy and independence, (b) the legal framework supporting their operation, (c) the available capacity to support decentralization, and (d) the will being demonstrated by the government to share authority with the entities at the local level. 

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