GOVERNMENT is to sponsor extra lesson classes for students in public schools whenever normal operations resumes in the education sector.
Speaking in the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives yesterday Minister of Education Fayval Williams said that the decision was made after identifying that students had not been getting the required amount of content contact and needed to compensate for it.
“When we resume normal operations in our schools we will launch Government-sponsored extra lesson classes to provide more teaching and learning opportunities for our children, especially those from economically disadvantaged homes,” she said.
In addition, “the programme will be available to parents who want to learn more, so that they can help their children or assist in completing their high school eduction they were not able to finish”.
Williams noted that extra lessons have been a feature of the Jamaican educational system for a very long time and, with good reasons, adding that parents have recognised that their children need more hours of teaching time to keep up or get ahead.
“Given the cost of extra lessons, only parents with means can afford extra lessons. Yet, children from economically disadvantaged homes need extra lessons more,” she noted, adding that the details of the plan are being “fleshed out”.
“Time lost, time wasted in schools is subtle. It is silent. Many people don't see it as a big deal, and therefore we don't do anything about it. It is a big deal, especially in a context when we have a learning gap of 4.3 years,” she stated.
“We have to raise awareness of this among teachers, students, parents, and the society at large. The ministry is demanding of schools that they treat class time as sacrosanct. We are demanding that all Jamaica respect the sacredness of the classroom time, whether it is in the face-to-face mode or virtual. All those activities schools love to do during class time, I say to them, please find non-class time for those activities,” she said.