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Published on June 3, 2024

Empowering Jamaica’s Future: Digital Transformation for Education

Jamaica is one of the thirteen countries worldwide that will benefit from the Joint SDG Fund's Funding Track on Digital Transformation.

This 3-year programme (2024-2027) which was developed to be implemented jointly by UNICEF (lead agency), UNESCO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will support the modernization and integration of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) by developing an OPEN-EMIS platform. This platform will enhance data collection, reporting, and utilization, thereby improving education delivery and driving transformative changes through existing digital solutions.

The Joint Programme aims to achieve the following four outcomes:

  1. Use of digital platforms to support the introduction and use of innovative, flexible, and resilient student-centred school data management system, to enhance overall educational outcomes.
  2. A nutrition-sensitive school feeding programme that utilizes digital platforms towards improved attendance and learning and nutritional outcomes.
  3. More effective policy making, monitoring and evaluation by the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) and its related agencies improve the management, engagement, delivery of content and the well-being of teachers.
  4. Data governance and interoperability of existing digital systems within the education sector are improved towards supporting better decision making within the sector.

Overall, the Joint Programme serves as a catalyst for advancing digitalization in the education sector and addressing various challenges. It targets the interconnections among improved educational outcomes, data-driven decision-making, and enhanced food and nutrition security. By leveraging synergies among education, food systems, digital connectivity, and social protection, the program aims to achieve a digitally transformed education system, leading to improved educational outcomes, enhanced teacher engagement and well-being, and a reduction in malnutrition among primary-aged children. The program addresses five SDG targets related to "Zero Hunger" and "Quality Education."

UNESCO's Component of the Joint Programme on Digital Transformation: Teachers’ Management and Engagement through better and timely data

UNESCO’s contribution to this Joint Programme will focus on teachers. Teachers are essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) which is about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030. Education Ministries should ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed education systems (ILO-UNESCO, 2018). As a critical means of implementation, Target 4.c calls for a substantial increase in the supply of qualified teachers. Nevertheless, the pervasive shortage of educators on a global scale presents a significant barrier to educational access.

In recent times, there have been significant attrition issues within the Jamaican education system, particularly concerning teacher migration and shortages. In 2023, the Ministry of Education and Youth reported that 400 teachers resigned within a short span at the beginning of a new school year, leading to disruptive measures within schools such as class mergers and increased workload for existing staff, resulting in burnout and lowered morale. The absence of timely and disaggregated data on teacher resignations further complicates the situation, hindering effective strategies to address the crisis.

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the effective management and engagement of teachers play a pivotal role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality learning experiences. Central to this endeavour is the harnessing of better and timely data to inform the decision-making processes and enhance the support mechanisms for educators. By optimizing teacher deployment, personalizing professional development, and promoting collaboration through data-driven insights, the aim of UNESCO’s component in the Joint Programme is to highlight the transformative potential of leveraging data to empower and uplift the teaching workforce. More specifically, UNESCO will work to enhance data governance and interoperability of digital systems within the Ministry of Education and Youth Jamaica, boosting its ability to utilize real-time data for policymaking and monitoring, thus improving teacher management, engagement, and well-being. In doing so, UNESCO will strategically ensure that:

  1. National standards are developed to strengthen the governance and institutional framework of the EMIS to facilitate a more seamless integration of digital solutions for data within the education sector, in addition to improved coordination of efforts across social protection, health and education sectors. Improved reporting and readiness of data will lead to improved decision-making, increased transparency and accountability, and greater empowerment of teachers, parents and communities.
  2. Existing data warehouse is improved to better integrate the different component of EMIS, have them speak to each other, and finally streamline data use within education administration and schools as well as to improve the MOEY’s data reporting capacities to the general public and other government and international organizations. This centralized repository will enable real-time access to curated, standardized, and comparable data and their analysis by all education actors, including teachers and students, through online data exploration and visualization, with the aim to empowering them, educational policymakers, administrators, and practitioners to make informed decisions that advance educational policy and practice.
  3. Teacher management is enhanced via improved and integrated human resource digital solutions and tools used by MOEY, which will render valuable insights on the status and situation of the teacher workforce, working conditions, equitable deployment across schools, attendance, attrition, qualification and professional development, with a view to address the current teacher crisis and re-engage them given the central role they play in the education system.

Joint SDG Fund's Funding Track on Digital Transformation

The UN Joint SDG Fund's Funding Track on Digital Transformation focuses on systemic responses to promote digital transformation for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It aims to achieve this through three key objectives:

  1. Promoting digital transformation to enhance SDG impact, with criteria including readiness, measurable contributions to the SDGs, and pathways to additional financing.
  2. Advancing digital transformation guided by UN principles, emphasizing digital inclusion, capacity-building, and human rights, while aligning with principles for Digital Public Goods.
  3. Leveraging the UN development system for inclusive digital transformation, focusing on systemic change, coherence with national strategies, and utilizing existing commitments and relationships.

The initiative aligns with the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation launched by the UN Secretary-General in June 2020 and emphasizes how digitally transformed systems can enhance accessibility, desirability, and sustainability. Furthermore, it underscores the importance of aligning digital transformation efforts with other key SDG transitions and "Enabling Actions", including food systems, energy, climate, and education.


Originally published at UNESCO



All joint programs of the Joint SDG Fund are led by UN Resident Coordinators and implemented by the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations development system. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.