Sat | May 8, 2021

Mexico to deliver online Spanish classes for J’can students

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2021 | 12:13 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
From left, background: Reece King of RMP & Associates Limited, Education Minister Fayval Williams and Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica CEO Greta Bogues pose for a photo with some of the John Mills Primary and Infant School students who will benefit from the donation of 50 tablets by RMP & Associates Limited at the Kingston-based school yesterday.

Mexico and Jamaica are preparing to execute a pilot project under which teachers from the North American country will tutor Jamaican students in Spanish.

Education Minister Fayval Williams made the disclosure following a meeting yesterday with Mexican Ambassador Juan González Mijares.

Williams said the project had vast potential and would involve 30 Mexicans operating from their homeland, teaching some 300 students Spanish here in an online environment.

“You can see how scalable that is, as more and more of our children get devices,” she said during a handover ceremony for 50 tablets to the John Mills Primary and Infant School under the ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child Initiative’. The devices were donated to the Kingston-based school by RMP & Associates Limited.

“It opens up possibilities in the education system for greater learning, for more exciting learning to inspire students, and they have these devices at home, at school on school day, and weekends as long as you have connectivity,” added Williams. “And we’ve been doing our part, too, in terms of connectivity, so whenever you go on to the learning management system, you don’t have to use up your own data and that’s what the ministry is doing to ensure that children get on.”

Bring youth into digital world

According to Williams, Jamaican cannot hope to become a completely digital society without bringing its youth fully into the digital world, especially since they will need to possess different skill sets from those Jamaicans raised in the 20th century to be serious contenders in the global economy.

“The world has become more technological. We want our children to be more than just entertained by the technology,” said Williams, a former technology minister. “Entertainment is when you put up your picture on social media and WhatsApp and such. We want you interact with the technology. We want you to learn to program it, so that over time you can become better and develop apps that, who knows, maybe will be used by the rest of the world.

“So we are on an irreversible path in terms of technology in our lives, in our education, and to the extent that we enable our students to use it wisely. We are going to benefit significantly in Jamaica in the years ahead,” she told the tablet beneficiaries.