Ministry of Education preparing for any eventualityThursday, July 29, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
BARRETT TOWN, St James - The Ministry of Education in a proactive move put in contingency measures for the provision of either or both face-to-face and online classes for students attending Government learning institutions across the island, in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We're preparing for face-to-face, if that happens. But also, if that doesn't happen we have been preparing on the bandwidth side as well to ensure that our schools have adequate bandwidth so our teachers can be assured that they could teach in the online world, if we have to do that. If it turns out to be blended with face-to- face and online, we are prepared for that as well.
“We don't know what September is going to be like, given the pandemic. All we can do as a ministry is to prepare for any eventuality, and that is what we're doing,” Education Minister Fayval Williams told the Jamaica Observer West after delivering the keynote address at the John Rollins Success Primary 17th school leaving exercise on Sunday.
“What we are doing now [is] we are planning for any eventuality. So we would have been having a series of meetings with all our regions. Back-to-school, believe it or not, in July, we've been having meetings around back-to-school.”
She noted that when the new term begins schools should see improved Internet connectivity.
“So now we have described for each of our schools in Jamaica the minimum bandwidth that they have to have. We're working to ensure that that happens with the coming school year. I'm not saying that come September everything is going to be perfect, but schools are going to begin to see better Internet connectivity at their schools and because as well we know that many, many teachers come to school in order to utilise the Internet in order to teach students in the online world,” Williams stated.
“The technology is there and we want to assure our rural schools that they will not be forgotten. They will be prioritised in all of this.”
The education minister also disclosed that repairs are being undertaken at the plants.
“We would have been out there in terms of our building officers and so on, looking at our schools. Many of them have problems with termites, and we're fixing those, we are fixing issues at schools,” she said.
The John Rollins Success Primary School is one of the 14 primary schools in the St James East Central constituency, and the Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett congratulated the top-performing students in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).
Bartlett committed an additional $500,000 in book support to students who scored 115 or more in the PEP from the East Central St James Scholarship and Welfare Fund (ECSTSWF), bringing to $2 million for book support and scholarships for secondary students from the fund.
“What we are doing this year is that we have identified the top 30 students from the graduating class, and I am awarding $10,000 to each student for book support and $20,000 for the top boy and top girl for the year,” said Bartlett, who is also the minister of tourism.
The ECSTSWF also has a tertiary programme component which provides scholarships to students from across the constituency.
“The programme now boasts students in all tertiary institutions in Jamaica as well as some abroad, including in China,” Bartlett remarked.