Davis bats for face-to-face classes in Hanover Western


Davis bats for face-to-face classes in Hanover Western

Observer West writer

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover -Member of Parliament (MP) for Hanover Western Tamika Davis is calling on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to consider schools in her constituency for the second phase of face-to-face classes.

The call was made by the MP during a ceremony held at the Lucea Primary School in the parish last Thursday, where Education Minister Fayval Williams presented over 800 tablets to students in the Hanover Western constituency.

“Minister Williams…Hanover was the last parish to record a COVID [coronavirus] case, and I would urge that when you consider schools going forward to the face-to-face. Not only are we the last parish, but most importantly, we have the least number of active cases. Additionally, you will find that most of our rural schools are set in communities which do not require students to travel by bus… they normally walk to school, and this is one of the variables that you also consider,” Davis pleaded.

Up to Tuesday, the parish of Hanover had recorded 215 cases of COVID-19 with one death— the lowest number of cases in a single parish on the island.

Earlier this month, the education minister indicated that following the conclusion of the two-week face-to-face learning pilot project for some 17 schools across the island, more schools are likely to participate in the next phase of the initiative.

Faithlyn Walters Neylor, the principal of Upper Rock Spring All-Age and Infant located in the Hanover Western constituency, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer West earlier this week, also believes that face-to-face learning should resume in the parish.

“I am anticipating being on that pilot. Not sure when, but I am ready for them whenever they are,” stated Walters Neylor, who noted that the majority of students attending her school reside in walking distance, while all the teachers drive their own vehicles.

Walters Neylor further argued that the community has been asking for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

“They have been asking me for that. They say they want the school to reopen. They want the children to go face-to-face, but we still have to be careful,” Walters Neylor cautioned.

The school, which has a student population of 117, is one of three rural schools named by Dr Michelle Pinnock, regional director of the education's ministry's Region Four, that received Internet connection for the first time. The Internet is provided via satellite through ReadyTv.

The other two schools—Pondside All-Age and Cacoon Castle Primary School— are both located in the Hanover Eastern constituency.

The Internet service will be of great assistance to teachers at the Upper Rock Spring School who do not have a broadband internet connection and have to utilise their cellular phone data to facilitate online learning.

“It is a very, very good feeling because today is the first time a teacher came out and actually taught her lessons [online] from the school,” Walters Neylor told the Observer West earlier last week.

She added that the school is currently looking into how best to accommodate the community which has been asking to be allowed to utilise the Internet service.

Pondside All-Age Acting Principal Tiahna Woolery was also elated.

“Getting the Internet now is a big boost because we can be right there and access whatever we need right on spot, rather than having to wait until we get home to use the Internet, or even to use our own personal data as we usually do,” she expressed.

Dr Pinnock said the lack of Internet access has been a “struggle for teachers” over the years who have to travel outside of the community to access material and content to enhance their lessons.

Meanwhile, the education minister had disclosed that some 40 of 100 schools that did not have access to the Internet now have the service.

“We are rolling out and making sure that at least a 100 schools that did not have Internet connectivity, that those schools get it, and I think so far we are probably at 40 of the 100, and the implementation is continuing,” stated Williams.

“There are other schools, and we are talking with other vendors to see what else can be deployed all across Jamaica. At the end of the day, all our schools must have Internet connectivity.”

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