Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, took time out on Teachers’ Day, Wednesday (May 5) to visit with students and teachers of the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School in Kingston.
During his visit to the institution, Mr. Holness taught a geometry lesson to a grade four class. The Minister’s skill as a former teacher was evident, as he paused occasionally to ensure that the students were paying attention and understood the lesson being taught, with individual attention rendered to some students.
In an interview with JIS News, Minister Holness said that the lesson was part of the mathematics curriculum where the aim is to have the students understand measurements and shapes.
“Maths is a particular challenge and I am on a campaign now to bring public attention and to increase public awareness to our shortcomings in mathematics,” he said.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (right), has the attention of grade four students of the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School today (May 5), where he taught a geometry lesson. The Minister’s visit to the Kingston-based institution was part of activities to mark Teachers’ Day.
One of the areas being looked at in addressing the challenge is the establishment of a National Commission on Mathematics. Minister Holness said that plans for the Commission are “going apace” and more information will be divulged by the end of the month.
The decision to establish the Commission follows the published results of the Grade Four Numeracy Test, which showed that many students performed poorly.
At a press conference held on Monday (May 3), the Education Minister said that the Commission will “report to us on the strategies, systems, and methodologies that we should employ in coming to grips with our math problems.” He said that the Commission would have a defined life-span, and would be provided with terms of reference.
In the meantime, the Education Minister said that the geometry lesson taught was easily grasped by the students, who participated in the exercise. “This school is a model school and the task is much easier than I expected.I am very impressed and I am very proud of this school,” he said.
He noted that his visit to Windward Road Primary and Junior High provides an opportunity to bring the nation into the classroom so that people could see the conditions under which teachers instruct and students learn.
“(While) the conditions are not always optimal.we continue to see that even in difficult circumstances that we can succeed and we have students, who are very brilliant and are doing very well even under less than optimal conditions,” he said.
During his visit, the Education Minister toured sections of the school compound, accompanied by members of staff at the institution and officials from his Ministry. Minister Holness told JIS News that he will be visiting other schools in the corporate area and presenting gifts to some teachers.
Teachers’ Day is an annual activity of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) to mark National Education Week, which is being observed this year under the theme: ‘Strategic Partnerships: Sustaining Educational Opportunities for National Development’.