Solar energy pilot project to be used in schools – Williams
Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, addresses a press conference of the Education Transformation and Oversight Committee (ETOC) on Thursday at Jamaica House in Kingston. (Photo: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Education and Youth says it will be undertaking a pilot project for the use of solar energy in schools.

Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, said that the trial will take place in 30 institutions in the first quarter of 2023 “and then, depending on the results, that will be something we would look to scale across our schools.”

Williams noted that the solar systems will reduce the costs associated with cooling classrooms.

“To the extent that we can use more solar energy at our schools, you can see how our children will be in a more comfortable environment, which will enhance their teaching and learning,” she said.

Williams was speaking during a press conference of the Education Transformation and Oversight Committee (ETOC) held at Jamaica House in Kingston on Thursday.

Giving an update on the project to equip schools with broadband internet, Williams indicated that 554 institutions have been contracted for service, of which 377 already have access to “adequate broadband connectivity”.

“When we talk about adequate broadband connectivity, we really mean that. There was an assessment done of all the schools…and a decision was made (on) how much broadband connectivity we should allocate to these schools,” she pointed out.

She said the ministry will continue to procure connectivity for other institutions.

Thursday’s press conference provided an update on the progress of the implementation of the recommendations from the 2021 ‘Reform of Education in Jamaica’ report, which was developed by the Professor Orlando Patterson-chaired Jamaica Education Transformation Commission.

The ETOC, chaired by Dr Adrian Stokes, was appointed to monitor the implementation.

A number of prioritised areas were identified in the report, which cover governance and accountability; early-childhood education; the teaching curriculum and teacher training; tertiary education; technical and vocational education and training ; infrastructure and technology; finance, among other areas.

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