JETv will help your child pass exams
Claudine Clarke, Guest Columnist
My son's Grade 3 National Diagnostic Assessment results arrived with his report recently, and I was pleased. He achieved mastery in all but one of the areas of assessment, where he achieved near mastery.
I wish to commend the conceptualisers of Jamaica Education Television (JETv) for their pioneering efforts for education.
I literally stumbled on JETv on the Flow cable network, Channel 117, in January 2014, in my desperate efforts to find supportive local television materials to assist my son's preparation for the Ministry of Education's Grade 3 Assessment, which was fast approaching.
Just as my parents before me, I see education as an investment in my child's development and potential. I also believe in the importance of raising educational standards at all levels of our country's education system. This philosophy is akin to the aphorism "a rising tide lifts all boats".
As I watched JETv, I soon realised that the very Grade 3 numeracy materials I was scouting for was being shown.
My son and I used the materials presented to clarify and solidify what was being taught in class. Needless to say, my son quickly took a liking to the materials, particularly in light of the fact that I had promised him a bicycle if he settled down and did well in the tests. And as they would say, the rest his history.
Now it's on to Grade 4 and the start of preparation for GSAT!
This now takes me to some suggestions that the initiators of JETv, the Ministry of Education, and other private-sector interests should implement to enhance the educational offerings of JETv:
(1) This useful educational medium offers much potential and can benefit from additional content, particularly best-practice teaching and GSAT content.
Broadcast media such as JETv can be employed to efficiently and effectively deliver best-practice pedagogy, not only to the benefit of students and teachers, but also to encourage more active and participative engagement of parents in the teaching and learning process of our children.
(2) Greater private- and public-sector support and involvement of this broadcast educational undertaking is required. For example, aspects of the Music-in-School Project being supported by First Global Bank could be carried on JETv so that a wider cross section of primary students could benefit from such a project. Also, organisations such as The National Parenting Support Commission and The National Parent-Teacher Association should consider utilising this broadcast medium to communicate their messaging to parents.
(3) The innovative orientation of the initiators of JETv, judging from its public-service messages, is clear. The initiators have ensured that relevant broadcast educational content can also be accessed on-demand via the Internet and even smartphones. This means that students with their tablets can access JETv's content on-the-go.
It is entirely feasible, therefore, for JETv, working with the Ministry of Education, to provide practice tests relating to the materials shown, so that parents can track students' progress online, as is done at some of our top high schools, and in many primary/elementary school districts in developed economies, such as the United States.
This is where the use of technology in public education is going, and for our people to compete in this global environment, we must move with the times. This kind of educational investment represents an investment in the future development of our country's human potential and, therefore, should be taken seriously.
It is clear that technology and its proliferation augur well for the development of our educational system. For one thing, they can make teaching excellence available to more of our students in both urban and rural Jamaica, and this is a good thing.
(4) In these harsh economic times, it is certain that, for educational innovations such as JETv to succeed, more organisations, particularly those with foundations that have an educational development mandate, need to get on board to contribute more resources.
To be sure, initiatives such as JETv can singularly affect the mass delivery of educational content unlike any other. In the end, Jamaica will be better for it.
So let me end where I had meant to start: I commend all stakeholders in our educational system who are doing something to positively affect the education of our children. We commend and encourage every innovation in education as they augur well for the development of our people and society. And how could I end without saluting highly The Gleaner for being an important stakeholder in my own educational development, for it is with the help of The Gleaner that I learned to read!