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June 25, 2012
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Five pilot schools get radio operations training

Cordel Green - File

Primary and junior high school students from five pilot schools are to be trained to operate school radio stations, which will be established for the creation and dissemination of media content.

The initiative is part of the Media Literacy Project of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ), which is now in its third phase.

Executive Director of the BCJ, Cordel Green, made the disclosure at a recent meeting held at the National Heroes Circle offices of the Ministry of Education to update portfolio minister, Ronald Thwaites; Acting Permanent Secretary Grace McLean, as well as senior officials, of the achievements under the project. It was also intended to inform them of work to be under-taken in phase III from June 2012 to September 2013.

Green said 150 grades seven to nine students will be trained in media operations as a practical component under the project. They will be selected from five schools where low-power radio stations will be established. The schools are: Balcombe Drive Primary and Junior High, Calabar Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew; Granville Primary and Junior High and Flankers Primary and Junior High in St James and Central Branch All-Age, Kingston.

"We are going to establish five radio stations in the selected schools and expand it to include Internet radio," he said.

"We developed a kind of mentorship programme for the establishment of the school radio station because we want to twin them with existing stations, and we are also collaborating with an entity abroad, which is likely to become a partner, which is already experimenting with Internet radio stations in Jamaica and that will help us to spread that out very rapidly," he added.

It is projected that at the end of this phase, the Ministry of Education will begin full roll-out of the media literacy curriculum in primary and secondary schools and teachers' colleges.

self-development

"When the programme is fully rolled out in schools, children are expected to increase their use of electronic media for learning and self-development; be more aware that some content can be harmful; learn how to recognise inappropriate media content; and be equipped to make informed decisions and respond to risky content in the media," he said.

The Media Literacy Project, which targets grades one to nine students, was launched in 2007 with support of the Ministry of Education, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE).

The curriculum is being delivered in the schools by 30 trainee teachers, who were trained in phase II and assessed on their practicum and final project.

Giving an overview of the first phase of the project from 2008 to 2010, Mr Green said that a package of four lessons on videos, each designed for delivery within a 20-minute class, was developed for grades four to six, which was the original focus of the project.

He said the videos and other teaching manuals were then tested by the JBTE in 10 primary schools and select teacher training colleges across the island. Based on the feedback, grades one to three were included.

Also attending the meeting at the ministry were: Assistant Executive Director, BCJ, Karlene Salmon-Johnson; adviser to the minister of education, Craig Perue and acting Chief Education Officer Clement Radcliffe.

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