129 schools approved for face-to-face teaching for new school term

January 01, 2021
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, addressing a sitting of the House of Representatives, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, has confirmed that 129 schools have been approved for face-to-face teaching and learning to start the new school term on January 4.

The schools have been allowed a two week period from January 4 to 18 to fine-tune their preparations for schooling.

Minister Williams said all students and teachers are expected to utilise one or a combination of the approved approaches, to ensure that the education of students continue despite COVID-19.

Underscoring that education is still compulsory, Mrs. Williams has appealed to parents and the wider community to get children off the streets and engaged in school work using the different modalities available for teaching and learning.

“No child in Jamaica of school age should be seen sitting around idly, or on the road going to the corner shop, or doing house work during school time which is designated as 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday to Friday,” Minister Williams said.

The Minister pointed out that children who were not using any of the available teaching/learning engagement (online, audio/visual, learning kit, face-to-face) are in danger of falling way behind.

“Attending school, whether virtual, remote or face-to-face, is still a requirement. Let us work together to stop the learning loss. We ask all parents, guardians, community members, Jamaicans all to be as supportive as you can of our students. Encourage them during this trying period,” she said.

The Minister noted that the focus for this term is the preparation of children for their exit exams: CSEC, City & Guilds, CAPE, NCTVET and the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams.

Grades 6 students at the primary level are scheduled to sit the first of two components of the PEP exam - the Ability Test, on February 23, 2021.

The Ministry says it will also be offering additional Special Learning Interventions.

“Students will be provided with fully-funded access to Edufocal and One on One Educational Service in preparation for PEP and other external exams. Additionally, a mobile student support initiative will be launched on January 18, 2021 to focus on the students who have not been consistently engaged in the last school term,” the Minister explained.

In addition, the Ministry says it will be providing after-school classes to small groups of five for two hours, twice per week, using the schools, church halls, community centres, USF community access points, the Jamaica Library Service locations and other temporary learning spaces.

Minister Williams said the Ministry will also launch the Learning Kit Challenger and Learning Kit Motivator for students who are performing below expectation.

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