Principal, Jacks Hill Primary and Infant School, Duane Forbes.
Photo: Michael Sloley

Principal  of the Jacks Hill Primary and Infant School in St. Andrew, Duane Forbes, is hailing the commitment of the teaching staff in ensuring that “no child is left behind” during the pandemic.

He tells JIS News that teachers have employed various measures to make sure that every one of the 52 students on roll is reached, particularly those who do not have access to technology.

“One of the things I would want to say to our teachers is that, they are doing great work.  The amount of work that they are doing, we as a country cannot find enough money to compensate them financially,” he says.

“We know that while their reward may not be on earth, their reward will be in Heaven and we just want to commend them for going beyond the call of duty to ensure that the students get the very best of the education system,” Mr. Forbes adds.

He tells JIS News that the institution has been employing the various modalities prescribed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in ensuring that learning continues during the pandemic.

“We use the learning management system, the Google Classroom, along with Google Meet,” he says, adding that “classwork is also placed in WhatsApp groups for the students and parents to retrieve”.

In addition, he informs that printed material is provided for those students without devices or Internet connectivity.

Parents visit the institution on Mondays and Fridays to collect and return the completed assignments.

Mr. Forbes then drops off the assignments to the teachers, some of whom have underlying health conditions.

“I’m just trying to protect them as best as possible, so instead of exposing them like that, I do the collecting,” he says.

Mr. Forbes says that every teacher will receive a special treat on Teachers’ Day, as a show of appreciation.

“As a community, we owe them a great deal and we are really pleased and happy to have these hard-working teachers who are really impacting the community and this nation,” he tells JIS News.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, in her message for Teachers’ Day, commended the thousands of teachers across Jamaica and noted their important role in determining student achievement.

“I welcome the observance of Teachers’ Day and the spotlight it puts on our national goal of ‘leaving no child behind’. We remain committed to that ideal. Today provides the occasion to recognise the teaching profession nationwide, take stock of achievements and shortfalls, so that we may commend outstanding performances and take the necessary actions to improve where there are deficiencies, all with a goal of making the education sector work for all our children,” she noted.

She said: “Now more than ever, we must work with our teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic. Our educators have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue. Their role in advising on school reopening plans and supporting students with the return to school is just as important.”

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