KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, says every teacher, regardless of their specialist area, should become part of the solution to the shortfall in numeracy and literacy in education.
“Every teacher has to become a special education teacher … I don’t want to hear that the Spanish teacher or the geography teacher, or the woodwork or the agriculture teacher don’t have any part in literacy or numeracy,” said Thwaites.
“It can’t work! If literacy and numeracy are in deficit, as it seriously is in Jamaica, every single teacher must see the advancement of literacy and numeracy as part of your concern,” he insisted.
The education minister was addressing the annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) in Montego Bay on Wednesday.
He implored Grade Seven teachers and principals to take the time to bring students up to par, arguing that, “if the literacy and numeracy levels of the children coming to you … are not up to standard, what is the point of committing you in pedagogy in other subjects, when their capacity for understanding is nil?
Thwaites expressed approval of the pledge by new JTA President, Clayton Hall, to give priority to special education, and gave a commitment to find ways, despite limited resources, to “roll out opportunities for special education in as many schools as possible in the new school year.”