The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will be providing approximately 300 tablet computers to teachers in primary schools as part of efforts to assist them with lesson plan preparations.
This was disclosed by Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, who indicated that the teachers will soon be able to go online and download a whole series of lesson plans.
Additionally, she said they will be able to submit these plans to principals and administrators electronically.
“Integration training will be held for teachers, and integration specialists will be provided to assist you to use a lesson plan template on a tablet,” the Chief Education Officer further stated.
Dr. Mclean was speaking at the Ministry’s Region Five Parent Sensitisation Session at Bishop Gibson High School in Mandeville, Manchester, on Tuesday (October 23), which was addressed by Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.
Meanwhile, Senator Reid reiterated plans by the Ministry to push back the date for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) performance task to March 2019, in response to concerns regarding teacher and student readiness for its roll-out.
Additionally, he said test items have been adjusted, and a committee comprising teachers from all regions established to review those concerns.
“The items that will be used for the curriculum-based test would be subject to review by those representatives. I don’t expect there to be any items in the [system] that we all don’t feel are fair, valid or that will test students outside their depth of knowledge,” Senator Reid stated.
In the meantime, the Minister urged educators and other key stakeholders to ensure they devote adequate time to the development of students deemed slow learners, particularly youngsters with special needs.
He said it is imperative that the education system cater to children with “classic special needs” in a manner that ensures they are afforded opportunities to fully realise their potential.
Senator Reid said children with cognitive challenges are not all likely to function at similar levels or even attain certain achievements at the same age or timeline as their colleagues who do not have these issues.
He emphasised that in such cases, the solution cannot and should not be to deprive them of quality time in school, but rather to increase it.
The Minister also underscored the need for parents, teachers and other stakeholders to understand the importance of the early stimulation of children during the first 1,000 days of their lives.
“Early identification and intervention of developmental challenges are key. We need to find opportunities [to provide interventions, as obtains at] the Mico Care Centre… in all regions, to offer universal access to special care,” the Minister stated.
Dr. McLean encouraged teachers to capitalise on the “natural tendencies” of Jamaican children to perform, by using aspects of local culture, such as drama and music, to enhance their lessons.
Photo: Rudranath Fraser