Teachers hope for summer bump
While all administrators in western Jamaica have not fallen in line with the Ministry of Education’s new summer school initiative, Dr Michelle Pinnock said that she is heartened by the initial response.
Pinnock, who heads the Ministry of Education’s Region Four, said students from St James, Hanover and Westmoreland turned out on Tuesday for the Recover Smarter National School Learning and Intervention Plan.
The summer school programme is intended to address the issue of students not consistently being engaged in classwork, a problem which came to the fore following the initial spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica.
The Ministry of Education has estimated that 120,000 students have been missing from, or rarely attended, school since last year, but other stakeholders put the number as high as 150,000.
“My principals are on board with the summer school arrangement, and we are making it happen. We are focusing on the students, and we have quite a few of our students who are actually present at school,” Pinnock told The Gleaner.
While Pinnock could not disaggregate the turnout data, she noted that some high schools across Region Four will join later this week because students were still sitting Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.
At John Rollins Success Primary School in St James, principal Yvonne Miller-Wisdom said her students have been fully on board from Monday when the programme was originally scheduled to start.
Two teachers and 10 students attended school on Monday, while 17 students were present on Tuesday.
The online learning group will begin on Wednesday, said Miller-Wisdom.
Norman Allen, principal of the Westmoreland-based Frome Technical High School, welcomed the ministry’s initiative. His charges will start summer classes on Thursday.
“We have a history of running summer school, which we instituted since 2018, especially for grades seven to nine. Since the Ministry of Education has taken this programme on, ours is on hold, but we have sent the information out and we are trusting the students will make use of the opportunity,” said Allen.