The majority of Jamaican students have not been engaged in face-to-face learning for the better part of the last year. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are not learning at the level, pace and stage at which they should be.
Holness also registered his concern for the island’s grade six students who will be transitioning to high school come September. He said he is worried that these students, in particular, will be far behind.
The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering of students and parents at the Calabar Infant, Primary and Junior High School in Central Kingston, during a tablet distribution ceremony. He says his administration is working to ensure that no student will be left behind this year.
“Whatever we have to do to catch up on what you [students] have lost and to ensure that you have the foundation skills to advance to higher learning, the Government is committed to ensuring that this is done,” he said.
His commitment came after an announcement by Minister of Education, Fayval Williams that the government would be providing extra lesson classes as soon as there is a resumption of normal operations in schools.
“Extra lessons have been a feature of the Jamaican educational landscape for a very long time and with good reason, parents recognise that their children need way 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,” Williams noted.
“Of significance is that this programme will be available to parents who want to learn more so they can help their children or they may want to complete the high school they never finished,” said Williams.
She said the details are being fleshed out.
Prime Minister Holness has also emphasized that the Government is developing a new framework for broadband internet access across Jamaica to ensure that every household has access.
The Prime Minister said that in this day and age, students cannot progress in school without having access to the internet.