DNT News – Before COVID-19, Jamaica had a literacy rate of 88% with an attendance rate of 80%. While those numbers lag behind Caribbean averages, they were not known to represent an alarming trend – until now.
With the pandemic taking learning away from the classrooms and into students homes, attendance has dipped in Jamaica, and it’s not to die to a lack of effort from the government.
According to DNT Correspondent in Montego Bay, “free tablets have been handed out but most folks don’t have internet access.”
As a result the 80% attendance rate has dropped to alarming levels. “Only 36% of students have been accessing classes online,” said Jasford Gabriel, President of Jamaica’s Teachers Association.
The JTA president attributes that low attendance to “lack of or poor internet” at the homes of students.
In the case of first formers, who are entering their first year of junior high school, only 25% accessed classes. Educators were expecting a much higher attendance to orientation given that an estimated 60% of them are co side red illiterates.
It appears the Jamaican government should be looking at investing in internet accessibility because as one observer put it, “traditional learning was bad but online in a disaster.”
DNT News, Jamaica