No current plans for face-to-face classes, says Minister

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No current plans for face-to-face classes, says Minister

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams has confirmed that schools will be considered re-open on October 5, 2020, but added that contrary to previous pronouncements, there are no plans for face-to-face classes.

She was speaking at a digital conference at the Jamaica House moments ago.

The minister pointed out that COVID-19 aside, Jamaica is currently in an education crisis as many students are failing subjects, particularly mathematics and English, which she said are founding blocks.

“So, there is an urgency to get all students back in the learning mode as it regards to formal education but having said that, we recognise that we are in a pandemic like no other where fears and anxieties are high,” Williams said.

As such, the minister said schools will use a combination of virtual approaches to re-open.

The first will be an online approach with students remaining at home and accessing lessons via the ministry's management system.

“Teachers and students will be in a virtual environment and teachers will be able to teach online, lessons will be recorded and the students will be able to access conveniently the lessons,” Williams said.

The minister said approximately 20,000 teachers have been trained for this platform.

The second approach will see the ministry providing lessons using television, cable and radio.

The third approach will see the ministry providing printed materials for students to use along with their textbooks and worksheets at home. These, the minister said, apply to students without Internet access, and are to be delivered at agreed drop-off points and at home.

The minister added that the ministry has targeted grades four to six for distribution of tablets.

She noted that all 25,000 teachers have been given tablets and said the distribution of physical textbooks to primary and secondary students has commenced. Electronic material and other electronic support are being provided by Book Fusion on the ministry's app, Williams said.

She added that there should be no demand or pressure on parents for contribution to schools.

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