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193 Primary, 55 High Schools to Benefit from National Summer Academy

The Ministry of Education and Youth is targeting 193 primary and 55 high schools, which have been identified as underperforming by the National Education Inspectorate (NEI), for special intervention.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kasan Troupe, in making the disclosure, said that the institutions will receive focused support through the National Summer Academy, which aims to improve literacy and numeracy.

She was speaking at a Transforming Education for National Development (TREND) teacher engagement session held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, on Thursday (June 6).

The summer programme forms part of the Ministry’s effort to provide extended learning opportunities for students requiring additional support to recover from the impact of disruptions to their learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is delivered by a team of technical officers, including numeracy and literacy coaches/specialists.

Targets have been set to increase the grade-four literacy rate from 64.7 per cent last year to 68 per cent this year and 72 per cent in 2025.

For numeracy, the aim is to go from 63.4 per cent last year to 64 per cent this year and 64.5 per cent in 2025.

“I want you on board with us,” Dr. Troupe told the educators at the TREND session.

“We cannot do this without you; it’s not about what you do; it’s about how you make our students feel. We are all in this as a team and we need the team approach to make this work,” she pointed out.

Dr. Troupe, in her address to the teachers, noted the Government’s commitment to addressing their concerns and providing them with the necessary resources to enhance learning outcomes for students.

She cited the Ministry’s response to challenges with lesson planning by developing more than 700 localised lesson plans, which are available on the Ministry’s website.

Moreover, Dr. Troupe indicated that more than $2 billion was invested to provide laptops for teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and significant funding has been provided for educational materials, with some $2 billion spent last year on teaching and learning supplies for schools and another $1 billion allocated this year.

Additionally, she said the Ministry has provided Microsoft Office 365 software licences for teachers at a cost of $89 million per year and 40,000 annually for licences for the Learning Hub platform for grade-four students, thus providing more essential digital education resources in schools.

“This Jamaica education system has never been so resourced,” Dr. Troupe declared.

“We believe in knowledge and the power of knowledge. There is no secret in education; what we know, we want you to know. So, colleagues you are going to TREND with me this year,” she told the educators.

For her part, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Hon. Marsha Smith, called on educators to see themselves as an integral part of the transformation process.

“I want us to personalise TREND for ourselves. We have been saying ‘transforming education for national development’; however, I want us all to take this session today as transforming educators for national development,” Ms. Smith said.

The sensitisation session involved educators from Region three (St. Ann and Trelawny) and Region four (St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland), and included the launch of the social media #HowWeTREND initiative.