Minister of Education, Youth and Information, the Honourable Fayval Williams, in underscoring that education is still compulsory, is appealing to parents and the wider community to get children off the streets and engaged in school work using the different modalities available for teaching and learning.
In providing an update to the E-Covid Task Force and principals of schools approved for face-to-face teaching, Minister Williams said all students and teachers are expected to utilize one or a combination of the MoEYI’s approaches to ensure that the education of students continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No child in Jamaica of school age should be seen sitting around idly, or on the road going to the corner shop, or doing house work during school time which is designated as 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday to Friday,” Minister Williams said as she outlined plans for the new school term which starts January 4, 2021.
The Minister pointed out that children who were not using any of the available teaching / learning engagement (online, audio/visual, learning kit, face-to-face) were in danger of falling way behind.
“Attending school, whether virtual, remote or face-to-face, is still a requirement. Let us work together to stop the learning loss. We ask all parents, guardians, community members, Jamaicans all to be as supportive as you can of our students. Encourage them during this trying period,” she said.
Minister Williams noted that following on the October to December 2020 pilot programme in some schools, for the new term, 129 schools have been approved for face-to-face teaching and learning. These schools have been allowed a two week period from January 4 to 18 to fine-tune their preparations for schooling.
The Minister notes that the focus for this term is the preparation of children for their exit exams: CSEC, City & Guilds, CAPE, NCTVET and the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams. Grades 6 students at the primary level are scheduled to sit the first of two components of the PEP exam – the Ability Test, on February 23, 2021.
The Ministry will also be offering additional Special Learning Interventions.
“Students will be provided with fully-funded access to Edufocal and One on One Educational Service in preparation for PEP and other external exams.
Additionally, a mobile student support initiative will be launched on January 18, 2021 to focus on the students who have not been consistently engaged in the last school term,” the Minister explained.
In addition, the Ministry will be providing after-school classes to small groups of five for two hours, twice per week, using the schools, church halls, community centres, USF community access points, the Jamaica Library Service locations and other temporary learning spaces.
Minister Williams said the Ministry will also launch the Learning Kit Challenger and Learning Kit Motivator for those students who are performing below expectation.