JIS News

Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has lauded the Digicel Foundation for its $33.6 million donation for schools under the Enrichment Centre Project.
At the handing over ceremony, held at the Alhambra Inn, in Kingston, on February 18, the Minister commended Digicel for its social conscience.
“The Ministry of Education is very pleased with how you have conducted your assistance to us; it’s very open, transparent, and you are supporting the Ministry,” Mr. Holness said.
“The enrichment centres are not necessarily solely for remediation. They are designed to give you the ‘right start, right from the start’, that’s what it is about. It is to prevent remediation. If you give them the ‘right start, right from the start’, there is no need for remediation, but for those children who can’t learn in mainstream, who may have learning disabilities, then you have to have special facilities to accommodate them, so the enrichment centres play a dual role,” the Minister said.
Mr. Holness pointed out that 12 schools, two from each region, would benefit from the centres.
Meanwhile, Special Education Co-ordinator of the Education Transformation Team, Dr. Michelle Meredith-Dobbs, explained that the enrichment centres provide a move from the traditional resource room setting.
“It was simply a matter of moving away from the current approach to remediation, which is the resource room. The enrichment centre and the enrichment room project is intended to serve the needs of a wide variety of students, not just specific to reading difficulties, but also to include mathematics as well, and is a collaborative option, to facilitate improved performance outcomes in reading and mathematics,” she added.
Mrs. Meredith-Dobbs said the centre would provide academic intervention for those students who are at risk of academic failure and are low functioning, or for students who are performing above their peers and have not been able to perform at their optimal levels, because they have not been able to be challenged enough in the present curriculum system.
She pointed out that the approach used in the enrichment centres would include focused intervention and more appropriate use of diagnostic and prescriptive teaching strategies, while it targets different groups of students.
“The target groups include four groups of students – those who exhibit mild to moderate performance deficits that can be remedied through short term intervention; students who are performing at two, three or more grade levels below their current age or grade placements and in need of specific intervention; those who have specific learning difficulties, who might not need to be in a segregated special education setting, but can remain in the main stream and receive academic intervention; and those students who exhibit performance well above their peers,” she explained.
In the meantime, Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish (Retired), said the enrichment centres would be “equipped with computers, desks, chairs, projectors, laptops, televisions, compact disks (CDs) and specific software, geared toward reading.”
He also pointed out that the Foundation would contribute to the empowerment of the teachers and create an element of sustainability for the rooms.

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