Gov't examining options to address loss of teaching time due to COVID-19
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government of Jamaica is moving with alacrity to ensure Jamaican students can participate in the digital age with devices that will give them access to online classes.
Through his Positive Jamaica Foundation, Prime Minister Holness last week distributed 600 devices, including tablets and laptops, to PEP and CSEC students registered in schools within his West Central St Andrew constituency.
“Even after the pandemic, devices such as these will be critical for your learning, so it is not just for the pandemic. We are using this as an opportunity to ensure that every Jamaican child can participate in the digital age. I consider this to be the book and pencil of learning. Every Jamaican child must have a device, whether it is a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. This is the way of the future,” Holness said.
In that regard, the Prime Minister underscored that using the devices for schoolwork, seeking information, and as productive tools to solve problems, will give Jamaican students the generational leap necessary to achieve digital inclusivity.
He added that remedial classes will be an important part of the education strategy to address the loss of teaching time due to COVID-19.
“Without question, the pandemic will have an impact, so we must now start to consider how we mitigate that impact and one of the mitigating actions is to ensure that all students have a device. We will also have to consider how we remediate and make up for lost time in terms of the teaching and learning, and the Ministry of Education is working on that. The Government of Jamaica is seized of the possible negative impact that we will see manifest in a few months from now in terms of the education output both in terms of quality and the number of persons meeting standards for matriculation.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister stated that the Government is carefully implementing all precautionary measures before returning to face-to-face classes.
“The Government is looking at all our institutions to see which institutions have the requisite resources of space, are less reliant on public transportation, have low community spread, and the teachers understand and implement the protocols fully. In those schools, we would encourage students to go back, we will approve their returning, but at the same time, we will expect that these students will become advocates for the programme.”
In the meantime, the principals at the schools where the devices were distributed, thanked the Prime Minister for the initiative to assist the students. Holness said he will donate more devices to schools in other constituencies as the devices become available.
The devices were distributed to Balcombe Drive Primary and Junior High School, Penwood High School, Seaward Primary and Junior High School, and Dupont Primary and Infant School.
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