St. Vincent Education Statistical Digest 2015/2016 | Page 20


Presently, there are one hundred and twenty seven (127) early childhood centres. Of these, 118 are privately operated while the remaining nine are (9) government institutions. Together, all 127 institutions cater for children between ages three to five years. The overall enrolment for the 2015-2016 Academic year stood at 3487, which was an increase of 145 over the previous 3342 in 2014-2015. There are currently 348 children enrolled in the nine government owned early childhood centres and another 3139 in the remaining 117 privately owned institutions which are managed by Church Boards, non-governmental organizations, community groups and other private entities. This partnership between the government and private institutions to provide early quality care and development to all pre-schoolers is in keeping with the government’s thrust towards the achievement of universal access to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD).

Significant progress has been made towards the improvement of the quality of the teaching and learning process in this sector. The government has provided assistance to upgrade the physical environment of a number of privately operated early childhood centres. Also, the State continues to provide on-going training for preschool teachers and supervisors. Additionally, the government provides an annual subvention to all privately operated early childhood centres with an enrolment of fifteen or more students. The overall aim is to ensure that all preschool children access quality early childhood education at minimal or no cost to parents. Cost reduction and improved access is of even more significance for those children residing in disadvantaged communities who would otherwise be unable to access early childhood services.

This section of the digest provides important data on the Early Childhood Sector for the academic year 2015-2016 on enrolment, staffing and their level of training.