JIS News

Twenty-three schools today (May 11) received cheques valued at more than $14.48 million to among other things, enhance the literacy and numeracy skills of students during the new academic year.
The funds have been disbursed under the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Inner City Schools Improvement Programme (ISIP). Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Ministry’s offices in Heroes Circle in Kingston, Co-ordinator of the ISIP, Margaret Brissett-Bolt explained that the money would also be used to provide in-service training for guidance counsellors, teachers and principals; improve the physical infrastructure; and assist in providing any additional resources that these selected schools might need.
Mrs. Bolt pointed out that the programme, which was established in 2002, is targeted at schools located in the inner-city communities of Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay, where the attendance rate of the students is below the national average. A high percentage of the teachers are pre-trained teachers; there are frequent incidences of vandalism, poor infrastructure, and little or no community and parental involvement in the activities of the schools.
The ISIP Co-ordinator further notes that the programme has made significant changes in the lives of both teachers and students. “All the schools now look better physically, they are clean and painted, and they have laboratories. Apart from this, there is a spirit in the school. When you look at how the children behave now, how they react and how they get involved in after-school activities. it is just great,” she stated.
“Most of the students and parents – all they need is for somebody to care, somebody to reach out and say, ‘you can do it’ and you see the difference,” she added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Education Officer at the Ministry, Everald Douglas charged the principals of the schools to use the funds wisely and to ensure that at the end of the programme, the literacy and numeracy skills of their students are improved.
“The programme provides you with an opportunity to make a difference in very special and significant difference in the lives of students. Account for every cent of that cheque.the money that is going in I would like to see it translated in literacy and numeracy coming out of our schools and communities. When we talk about literacy, we are not just talking about reading and writing, but a change in the behaviour patterns,” he said.
Mr. Douglas also pledged the Ministry’s continued support to the programme. “We in the Ministry will do whatever lies in our power to ensure that the schools get the kind of support that will accrue to a betterment of our environment,” he stated.

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