JTA urges ministry to provide adequate textbooks for schools

Owen Speid
Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) President Owen Speid is recommending to the Ministry of Education that as it puts measures in place to ensure the health and safety of students in the new academic year, adequate textbooks are delivered to schools and on time.
Last year, Mr. Speid raised concern about a shortage of textbooks and furniture at some schools.
The JTA president has said there cannot be a repeat this year.
Mr. Speid noted that while in previous years students had to share books for various reasons, this cannot happen going forward due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
"You can have a set of children in school and another set at home doing work this time around and so they need their individual books. And so I am calling on the government, without any extra pressure on them, but just to say to them they have to make sure they deliver the books on time this year because the children will not be able to share based on physical distancing and so on," he insisted.  
Mr. Speid said the proposed staggering of classes, of which he is in support, is also a factor why more books will need to be provided to schools. 
SBA for PEP? 
In the meantime, Mr. Speid has recommended a form of School Based Assessment (SBA) for students entering grades five and six to make up for them not sitting their respective components of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think if it is structured well enough and if it is standardized then you could look at that, because to have the external exam, it's going to take out days out of the time and we're already short on time," he reasoned. 
Grade six students, who will now move on to high school, were also affected by the interruption in PEP exams due to COVID-19. Those students were unable to complete Ability Test component of the exam. 
Mr. Speid was a guest Monday morning on the Morning Agenda on Power 106.

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