Internet suppliers urged to expand reach to rural students

Thursday, January 02, 2014

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EDUCATION Minister Ronald Thwaites has challenged the local suppliers of Internet access to expand their reach, especially across rural Jamaica, so that more students will be able to benefit from online learning programmes.


"We need Internet access to all the nooks and crannies of Jamaica, to where the more than 1,100 public schools are by 2015, and we really have to challenge everyone involved in this regard," he stated.


The education minister was speaking yesterday at the official launch of the Caribbean Virtual Academy (CEVA) at the GoGSAT offices on Cargill Avenue in Kingston.


A virtual learning platform accessed through the website CaribbeanExams.com, CEVA is geared at providing online tutoring and exam preparation assistance to high school students.


The aim is to help students in Jamaica and across the region achieve greater success at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) levels.


Thwaites, in giving full endorsement to the programme, said it is in line with the ministry's mission of attaining greater student achievement.


He said that the expectation is that the programme will result in significant improvement in student achievement, and also provide employment opportunities for local teachers.


Minister Thwaites stated that the whole arena of virtual education is a powerful tool for transformation of the system and CEVA is a decisive step in that direction.


"At the ministry, we regard CEVA as complementary, not competitive, to classroom-based teaching and learning, as it provides the opportunity for students to learn at their own pace, and not to hamper those who are capable of managing the curriculum at a quicker pace," he stated.


Meanwhile, Thwaites said that he will be meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining to access the progress of the E-learning programme and the roll out of the pilot.


Vice-President, GoGSAT Ltd, Shallette East, menwhile, said that some 291 teachers are involved in the programme, providing online tutoring and assistance in over 18 subject areas.


She said this is done through the provision of educational games, thousands of practice questions, topic specific tests, study guides, topic specific notes, animated notes, pre-tests and post-tests. In addition to access to test preparation materials.


CaribbeanExams also provides students with access to live tutorials facilitated by live tutors, essay grading, eMentoring, a 24/7 helpdesk, as well as daily homework and research assistance.


— JIS



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