Most students showed significant improvement in their performance in literacy and Mathematics with boys outperforming girls following their completion of the Technology Enrichment Programme (TEP) an initiative organized by e-Learning Jamaica Company (e-Ljam).
The TEP which had the full support of the Ministry of Education, involved the use information and communications technologies (ICTs) to assist learning in 30 high schools.
“The use of interactive computer software in assisting students to learn at their own pace and in their own time was very important”, Chief Executive Officer and Project Manager of e-Ljam Mrs. Avrill Crawford disclosed at a function to honour those students who had showed marked improvement in literacy/numeracy skills.
Guest speaker at the function, Dr. Christopher Clarke, Principal (Acting) of Shortwood Teachers’ College commended the students on their performance as well as e-Ljam, the teachers, coordinators, volunteers and parents who assisted in their success.
Quoting from the words of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, Dr. Clarke implored the students to “never, never, never give up” in their quest for excellence.
“Do not let anyone tell you about where you live and where you are coming from; every time they tell you that, just tell them where you are headed,” Dr. Clarke said at the function held at the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha” in Kingston on Thursday (April 26).
The schools were selected for the programme based on recent GSAT and CSEC results as well as the Grade Nine Diagnostic Test which is conducted in all high schools by e-Ljam.
At the function, the top five students in each school, as well as coordinators, teachers and volunteers from 11 of the 30 schools were honoured.
Sixty grade seven and eight students were selected for the programme by each school which included Denham Town, Greater Portmore, Yallahs, Inswood, Clan Carthy, Cumberland, Haile Selassie, Kingston Robert Lightbourne, Tivoli Gardens and Paul Bogle High Schools. Stakeholders expressed satisfaction that the most of the students who had benefited from the programme were boys.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Kisean Williams, a grade eight student of Greater Portmore in St Catherine, said the programme had helped him to improve his schoolwork.
“It has helped me tremendously to understand my schoolwork and prepare for my City and Guilds exam. e-Learning has done a lot for me and I will never forget it”, he said.
Ms. Pauline Corlis, in her response on behalf of parents of the children, attested to the positive impact the TEP had on her daughter, Courtney Smith, of Cumberland High in St Catherine.
“When this programme started at the school, to be honest my child was called a slow learner, and today this programme with the help of the teachers, has boosted her so much. I cried when I got the certificate from the summer programme because, trust me, I’m so proud. I wish that it will continue throughout the whole school year,” Ms. Corlis said.
Tests and an independent evaluation conducted at the end of the year-long programme reflect that as many as 76 per cent of the 1,800 students showed improvement, with at least two students improving up to four grade levels within the year.
TEP coordinator, Mrs. Dorothy Thompson noted that the students had grown in confidence and had improved their use of technology, while some had been promoted to higher streams in school.
She however cited poor attendance, lack of parental support, competition from sporting activities and inadequate transportation as challenges which hindered even better performance from students in the programme. She recommended that the TEP be incorporated into the regular school day for it to be more effective.