Billions in investments coming for education, says Williams
ST JAMES, JAMAICA— Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, says that billions of dollars in investments are coming to enhance the learning environment at schools across the island.
The initiative is in keeping with recommendations in the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission (JETC) report, which highlighted the need for infrastructure upgrades to create modern school environments.
The minister said it is important to modernise school plants to meet the current and future needs of students and teachers.
“We also have to make our staff room for teachers more comfortable. All of those things help to create an environment, which makes teaching and learning more fun, comfortable, and exciting,” she said.
Williams was addressing a Transforming Education for National Development (TREND) Pop-up event at Black River High School in St Elizabeth on Wednesday.
The TREND pop-up series is aimed at sensitising stakeholders about the transformation of the education system and to gain support and buy-in of the measures.
The JETC report, produced by a Professor Orlando Patterson-led committee, makes recommendations for improvements in governance, administration, leadership and legislation; early-childhood education; teaching curriculum and teacher training; tertiary education; infrastructure and technology; technical and vocational education and training (TVET); and finance.
Noting the removal of the shift system at Black River High at the start of the school year in September, Williams said that the move is in keeping with the process to transform education.
All 1600 students at the institution now attend school at the same time, enabling them to have the full contact and educational hours they deserve, she pointed out.
“We call that ensuring that all of our children have equity and that they get the same quality education throughout the system. That is what we have just done [at Black River High and] it forms part of the recommendations to transform education in Jamaica,” Williams said.
The Education Minister further urged the students to delve deeper into technology and to exploit it to make positive contributions to society.
She said that the intention is for Jamaicans to become developers rather than mere users of technology, and the Government has provided tablets and laptops to students and teaching staff to drive this ambition.
“In all of our high schools across Jamaica, including here, we have upgraded their technology labs so that you, our students, have access to technology. A lot of things are happening around you and we want to make sure that when you leave your high school, you’re at the top of your game in terms of technology development,” Williams pointed out.
The event at Black River High School was also attended by students from neighbouring institutions such as Newcombe Valley Primary, Geneva Primary, and Giddy Hall Primary schools.