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Internet woes big hurdle for Hanover students

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2020 | 12:27 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


The absence of Internet access is creating jitters in some Hanover communities as teachers and parents worry that their children, especially those sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination, will be at a significant disadvantage to their counterparts who are benefiting from online lessons.

The concern is so grave that Nadienne Crosman, principal of Mt Peto Primary School, has suggested that PEP be pushed back until later in the year.

“My suggestion would be, even though it is said that PEP has been put back, to give us some more time to catch up with these weeks that we have been out, including the Easter break,” said Crosman, who also serves as Hanover parish president for the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA).

While health authorities have refrained from forecasting the number of COVID-19 cases in the short term, there is expected to be a surge by peak week in mid-May.

The Mt Peto Primary principal said that Internet service and electricity supply were often unreliable where they do exist.

“What we do is that we have created WhatsApp groups, in which we send the information to the parents and they send back the work that the students have done,” said Crosman. “However, that is a bit difficult sometimes because of the intermittent Internet access and the frequent disruption of electricity.”

Jasmin Johnson, principal of Bethel Primary and Junior High School in Hopewell, told The Gleaner that of the 111 grade six PEP students, teachers were only reaching about a half of that cohort through online efforts.

“It is difficult to teach them (the students) new material, because of the lack of face-to-face contact, but what the teachers are doing is using online interactive classroom applications to reach out to those who have access,” said Johnson, citing that some parents could not afford to add data to their cell phones.

Some of the affected communities are Mt Peto, Forrest, Bessie Baker, Bamboo, Lookout, Hadington, Seaview, Cacoon, New Mills and Welcome.