The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the numerous faults and deficiencies within Jamaica’s education system, necessitating the development of an education transformation plan to curb the current learning crisis.
Our Today understands that the Reform of Education in Jamaica 2021 report has put forward five areas of focus, collectively known as the Pathways To Transformation, where efforts should be placed to curb the crisis and better equip students for their future. The suggested recommendations focus on transforming teaching, the curriculum and teacher training.
Firstly, teaching is a recognised human resource, however, the perception of teachers being the most critical part of the educational system has somewhat plummeted.
Restoring the high value that was once placed on teachers can lead to their role being centralised and better appreciated. This will also effect growth in a teacher’s confidence which can boost performance, enabling highly motivated and quality teachers.
Following this, is pritorising early intervention in students. With this, costly corrective measures in the latter years can be avoided. Currently, much of Jamaica’s capital is wrapped up in these corrective measures, which in hindsight is not sustainable.
This Pathway also stresses the need for proper monitoring and evaluation of newly implemented strategies before they are given the green light for a wide scale rollout, which too can prevent unnecessary spending.
Ensuring equity of access, a goal of the Government, is another recommendation that has been put forward. For this, rather than dividing resources equally, resources with will divided based on needs.
From the report Our Today also understands, that schools and community partnerships are able to fill certain gaps. These partnerships are able to aid schools financially, provide non-academic support and aid in children’s total learning such as character formation.
Finally, data driven decision was also put forward to mend and bring about the desired teaching and learning outcomes. This involves using facts, metrics, and data to guide strategic decisions to align with goals, objectives, and initiatives.