JIS: The Government is taking steps to ensure that all students are given equal opportunities to excel, including those with special needs.
This entails putting measures in place to accommodate students with physical and other challenges, especially during the sitting of examinations.
Director of Regional Educational Services, Region One, Dr. Kasan Troupe, said the education system has been remodeled “to ensure and enable students to stand out… and to be on the cutting edge”.
Dr. Troupe, who represented Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, was speaking at the launch of the 2018 Student Motivational and Empowerment Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Wednesday (October 24).
“For grades 10 and 11 students (who are sitting exams), if they are so challenged… the Ministry of Education has put the facilities in place that (they) can get a prompter. We can negotiate with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) that you can get extra time to write your exam. If you are in our schools and you can’t move about physically, we will provide you with a ‘shadow’ – all at the cost of the Ministry of Education,” she said.
She further noted that for parents who are unable to afford the required assessment for their child, the Education Ministry has equipped the regional office with a special needs assessment team, to ensure “that you can benefit from free assessment to make sure that we will place (the child) in the appropriate setting, so no child should be left behind”.
“We have ensured that our primary schools are better funded, so the grants that we give our primary schools have been increased by 169 per cent; (and) we have also reduced the teacher-to-pupil ratio, so you have more teachers in the primary schools to support the teaching and learning experience,” she added.
Dr. Troupe also noted that primary schools are benefiting from the support of numeracy and literacy coaches to make sure that all the challenges will be addressed before students advance to the secondary level.
She said that students are now guaranteed seven years in high schools, “so that if you are not able to excel at grade 11 at the exams, we are putting the systems in place now so that you can (successfully continue your education)”.
In the meantime, Dr. Troupe welcomed the Student Motivational and Empowerment Programme, noting that it should be replicated in schools beyond Kingston and St. Andrew, so that more students across the island can benefit.
Now in its second year, the programme is an initiative of the Kingston and St. Andrew Development and Homecoming Foundation, which seeks to motivate and empower high-school students in pursuing peace, excellence, discipline, ethical conduct, responsible leadership and developing a commitment to the principles and responsibilities of becoming good and productive citizens of Jamaica.
The programme, which will run from October 22 to November 23, is being implemented in association with the Education Ministry.
Chairman of the Foundation, Steadman Fuller, said the programme aims to give students the opportunity to engage with outstanding citizens who have achieved in their chosen field and are making invaluable contributions to Jamaica’s development.
“We have selected 40 outstanding citizens who we believe have a responsibility and a duty to share their experiences with our young people and create role models that would assist them to understand the importance of getting a good education and how to use that education for their own economic and social development and, most importantly, the development of Jamaica,” he said.
Heading the list of persons scheduled to speak is Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who is expected to address the Penwood High School.
Other speakers will include former Prime Ministers, Bruce Golding, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, and the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange; Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown; Professor of Communications Policy and Digital Media, University of the West Indies, Mona, Hopeton Dunn; Member of Parliament for Western St. Andrew, Anthony Hylton; President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock; Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson; Founder and Executive Chairman, Agency for Inner-city renewal (AIR), Dr. Henley Morgan; Dr. Troupe and Mr. Fuller
Established in 2016, the Kingston and St. Andrew Development and Homecoming Foundation is charged with mobilising and channelling resources to help improve the quality of life of citizens in the Corporate Area.
CAPTION: Director of Regional Educational Services, Region One, Dr. Kasan Troupe (right); and Founder and Executive Chairman, Agency for Inner-city renewal (AIR), Dr. Henley Morgan (second right), speak with students of the Alpha High School for Girls. They are (from left), Nia Wright, Tahira Chin and Aafiyah Walker. Occasion was the launch of the 2018 Student Motivational and Empowerment Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Wednesday (October 24). Dr. Morgan was guest speaker at the event.