JIS News

The Primary Education Support Project (PESP), yesterday (December 10), staged an ‘End of Project Symposium and Exhibition’, to highlight the achievements of the programme.
The symposium, which ends today (December 11), is being held at the Kuntsford Court Hotel, in Kingston.
Project Manager, Jean Hastings, pointed out that the project had a good concept and the three components of the project – quality assurance, institutional development and civil works – had varying levels of success.
In relation to the quality assurance component, Ms. Hastings noted that a significant amount of training was done to facilitate changes to the curriculum.
“Under quality assurance, we trained approximately 12,000 teachers island wide to implement the revised primary curriculum. We have managed to realign the national assessment programme at grades three, four and six to the revised primary curriculum. We have almost gone beyond our mandate at the grade one level, because what we have managed to achieve is a total revamping and revision of the grade one diagnostic. What you now have is the grade one individual learning profile,” she explained.
“We also trained in excess of 800 teachers to become school based assessment co-ordinators, and we trained teachers with the skills and knowledge to use continuous assessment, not just to give it, but to know what to do with it,” Ms. Hastings added.
The PESP also developed a method with support materials to improve the literacy skills of students at grades one to three, through the Literacy 1-2-3 Programme, and piloted the use of information communication technology (ICT), to enhance teacher delivery.
“We also piloted the use of ICT to deliver the curriculum in 15 schools and we decided to provide them with various configurations, computers, digital cameras and printers. We also provided software to see how the teachers could use these to plan lessons and deliver training in any area and this we did with varying levels of success, but it was a good programme, so much so, that before we ended, we added another 60 schools,” Ms. Hastings noted, pointing out that resource materials were also given to schools.
“We also provided 36,674 supplementary materials…and 800 storage covers to schools, to ensure that the books were maintained in a safe haven,” the Project Manager added.
A mentorship programme and professional development protocol were two other components that emerged from the project, which was launched in 2001.
According to Ms. Hastings, the protocol is one aspect which, over time, would benefit the Ministry.
“The professional development protocol is a reality and I believe that this is one of the areas that will, over time, have a really good development impact on the system, especially if it is adopted and infused in some of the new agencies that are about to come on stream within the Ministry,” she informed.
The project was funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with loan support from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The loan from the IDB is US$29 million, while the Government and OPEC contributed US$4 million each.