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Some 100 primary and secondary schools islandwide have been selected for a pilot project, to be spearheaded by the Ministry of Education and Jamaica Education Television (JET), which will incorporate the use of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), to enhance the delivery of education at these institutions.

The initiative, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Ministry and JET, was formally launched during a ceremony at the Caenwood Centre in St. Andrew, on Friday (November 23).

The IPTV pilot, which is set to run for one year, beginning January 2013, will commence with one channel dedicated to the delivery of Mathematics and English Language. It will facilitate live and on-demand content to the institutions, which will be outfitted with the requisite equipment to facilitate access by teachers and students. 

Development of the material to be delivered will be undertaken by the Ministry’s Core Curriculum Unit, with the Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Unit monitoring activities in the schools.

JET will provide the requisite equipment within the schools, while Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, through its subsidiary, FLOW, will provide the technology platform, through Internet and other applicable services, to facilitate transmission.

Speaking at Friday’s launch, Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, described it as “a good day for Jamaican education."

“The dream that I had of infusing this (technology) into the education system has been made real,” he said, while noting that the idea of the partnership was initiated by JET’s principals who approached the Ministry for dialogue on the matter, which he added, “involves absolutely no cost to the Government."

The Minister stressed that the decision to focus on the delivery of Mathematics and English initially, is deliberate as, “we can no longer be complacent with the mediocrity of the less than desirable results of students’ performance in these subjects."

“And particularly at the primary levels, these have got to move in the right direction and very quickly, if we are to achieve our (Vision) 2030 (Jamaica) development goals. No development in Jamaica is going to be sustainable unless all of our children have adequate language and adequate mathematical adeptness,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites assured that the project will not be used to substitute for teachers in the classrooms, but rather to supplement, for instance, where schools are unable to access or secure the requisite resources that can enhance the quality of the teaching-learning environment, “that we would wish to be universal."

The Minister also extended an invitation to other stakeholders with an interest in supporting the project’s extension to have discussions with the Ministry as “we are anxious to assess what they have (to offer) and to encourage their participation.”

In her remarks, Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, who represented Shadow Spokesperson on Education, Marissa Dalrymple-Phillibert, commended the Ministry’s efforts, noting that the concept “has been alive for a while."

“This Minister, and his commitment to Jamaica’s children, has brought it to fruition, and I want to congratulate the team at the Ministry that has worked on it,” Senator Johnson-Smith said.