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JTA President calls for Assessment of On-Line Students

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) says it's difficult to project how long it will take for children who have been out of the physical classroom for more than 18 months to catch up with their lessons.  

Select primary schools will resume face-to-face classes today while permission has been granted for high school students in grades 11 to 13 to return in small groups to complete lab and other practical assignments for their external exams. 

Basic schools will also reopen for face-to-face classes. 

JTA President Winston Smith says it's important that assessments of the students be done as quickly as possible.

“And that is why we need to have all the students together, we want to be able to access them properly and plan the way forward for them. We may have a challenge to get them, but I know that the ministry has a programme stating that we will go into the homes, identify them and bring them back.”

A risk assessment conducted by the Ministry of Education revealed that 376 of 759 primary schools were identified for face-to-face classes.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says these schools were selected because they have a small population and students are experiencing issues connecting to the internet.

Meanwhile, the JTA president says the association would not support an extension of the school term as teachers are already burnt out from online classes.

In fact he believes the Christmas holiday should start earlier.

“Their mental health is being impacted negatively because of the excessive demand on teachers simply because everyone has a Zoom or google meeting. If we are not careful, the teachers will burn out. I think the ministry should give teachers

Christmas holidays starting on December 1 and give them time to rest and return in January,” said that JTA president who added that teachers have been working longer hours since the start of the pandemic. 

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