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Social Issues

September, 2021
Thematic Area: 

Education plays a critical role in national development, at individual and societal levels. The disruption wrought by the pandemic ought to be reviewed, analysed, and understood so as to provide evidence-informed policy solutions to the resulting complex, critical problems that Jamaica faces. This report provides an evidence- informed account of what has happened to education, and to children, in the wave of the pandemic-induced school closures and the shift to remote teaching and learning. It does not seek to evaluate the education sector beyond what pertains directly to this unforeseen, singular, unpredictable, fluid event, the COVID-19 pandemic.

July, 2021
Thematic Area: 

COVID-19 pandemic’s principal impact on Jamaica has been hundreds of deaths, tens of thousands of people infected, and a disruption of livelihoods and the economy that has brought the greatest economic decline since the country started measuring it. Fifty-seven percent of Jamaican households saw a reduction in income between the onset of the coronavirus in March and September 2020, and some 40,000 households sought government aid, 5 percent of all households.

June, 2021
Thematic Area: 

Jamaica’s children are in need of more and more available, specialized, and consistent mental health services. Most mental disorders that afflict adults have their genesis in childhood and adolescence. The first five years of life are the most critical with regard to brain development, including the development of emotional control and habitual ways of responding. Directing investments and efforts towards treatment and support in the early stages of brain development would redound to enhanced educational achievements, more positive adult outcomes, and, ultimately, boost national development.

May, 2021
Thematic Area: 

Despite the financial investment in social interventions for at- risk youth over the last several decades in Jamaica, the extent to which those interventions are effective is questionable as there has not been a noticeable nor sustained impact on the high rates of youth involved violence. Anti-violence interventions over the world, such as those that target at-risk youth to change their behaviour and divert them from violent crime, are designed and implemented because they seem to make obvious sense that they will work, but there is no basis for assessing the interventions’ effectiveness or outcomes. This weakness in monitoring and evaluating anti-violence social interventions, and the problem of not knowing their outcomes and whether or not they “work” has been recognized in Jamaica for at least two decades.

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