Education, Youth and Information Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the Ministry is preparing to employ both face-to-face and online learning modalities when the new academic year begins in September.
“Back to school is going to be dependent on where we are in the pandemic. We are guided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, but what we are doing is we are planning for different scenarios,” she said.
Minister Williams was addressing a virtual round-table discussion organised by the Ministry and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) on Wednesday (July 28).
She informed that as part of the preparations, inspection and repair of school plants are being undertaken. Internet service will be provided for schools without connectivity.
“On September morning, if it is face-to-face, we will be ready in terms of the physical infrastructure and [have] connectivity in our schools as well. Another scenario could be the online or virtual world, so we have to be prepared for that as well. So, the plan is to have all our schools with connectivity,” she said.
The connection of 196 public schools to the existing islandwide broadband network to enable access to high-speed Internet is expected to be completed in the new school term.
The works will be carried out under the first phase of the overall US$237-million National Broadband Initiative, which aims to have every household and every community connected to the Internet by 2025.
Minister Williams also noted that a rotation schedule is being considered for schools.
She encouraged teachers to get vaccinated as part of their back-to-school preparations, informing that, to date, at least 8,000 out of 25,000 teaching professionals have received the first dose of the vaccine, while another 4,000 have received the second dose.
The Education Ministry and PSOJ virtual round table featured discussions on the Ministry’s strategies to raise the achievement levels in the education sector.