Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, is encouraging well-thinking Jamaicans to adhere to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection prevention protocols, in order to curtail transmission and not jeopardize the resumption of face-to-face classes for students and teachers.
Mrs. Williams, who spoke with JIS News following the presentation of tablet computers at Seaforth Primary School in St. Thomas on December 11, said as persons seek to enjoy the Christmas holidays, they should do so responsibly in order to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 case spike.
“We are asking [that], over the Christmas holidays, persons consider our students, because if we have a COVID-filled Christmas, and we see the numbers increasing in January, schools are not going to be able to go back to face to face [interaction]. So everybody has a responsibility [to play their part],” she said.
Mrs. Williams indicated that the administrations of primary and high schools have been advised to place emphasis on the various scheduled examinations, starting February 23, 2021.
She said while the Ministry has initiated several interventions to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the education system, parental and community support is needed “to get our students in that frame of mind to meet those exams”.
“I am calling on all Jamaicans to give our students a push in encouragement, and pray for them. We have been making a lot of effort to ensure that our schools are physically ready,” Mrs. Williams said.
She invited schools and parents needing additional help, to reach out to the Ministry so that the issues arising can be resolved.
Approximately 938 tablets have been distributed to primary schools in Western St. Thomas.
Minister Williams told participants in the presentation ceremony that by the end of the 2020/21 academic year, over 100,000 tablets will be issued to schools islandwide.
“We are going to change the course of history in Jamaica, and make our students technology savvy,” she said, while expressing gratitude to private institutions supporting to the Ministry’s drive to equip schools with computers.
Member of Parliament for Western St. Thomas, James Robertson, said he was pleased with the Education Ministry’s focus on assisting students and schools.
He said the engagements, being led by Mrs. Williams, are “changing the trajectory of our young people and our future”.
For her part, Principal of Seaforth Primary, Neisha Buckley-Ford, said the tablets will be beneficial to the students, adding that the school community is appreciative of the provisions.
She appealed to parents to assist in maintaining the devices, and help in ensuring that their children participate in online classes.