Chairman of the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission, Professor Orlando Patterson, says the total cost of recovery from COVID-19 for Jamaica’s educational sector will be in the region of J$2.5 billion annually for two years.
Patterson, who is a John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, said this projection is in keeping with estimates from the World Bank.
“COVID has been a calamity for our students, as you know, and it has exacerbated the existing problems of equity. The cost of recovery will be great. The World Bank estimates that the total cost of recovery will be something in the order of J$2.5 billion annually for two years, but we better do it, because the cost of inaction, the World Bank estimates, will be in the in the region of US$5.5 billion, which will be unevenly more by the population,” Patterson said.
Patterson was speaking at the virtual launch of The Reform of Education in Jamaica 2021 report today.
He continued, “So we can choose between spending this extra amount up front now of only $2.5 billion to make up back for what we’ve lost or we can not do it or not do it efficiently and end up with a final cost of US$5.5 billion. It’s a no brainer of what we should do.”
He also emphasised that in addition to the COVID-19 crisis, Jamaica’s educational sector is in “a crisis of poor performance and an organisational crisis”.
“The World Bank calls this ‘A Learning Crisis’. The fact that we have achieved success in placing students in schools, but they’re not performing well,” he said.