Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean and school is primarily modeled on the British education system. The Government of Jamaica and the Jamaican Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) recognizes that education must be accessible to all students. “Every child can learn, Every child must learn” is something MoEY strongly upholds.
Building relationships around the globe
Although the distance between Arizona State University and Jamaica is about 2,348 miles, there’s a common purpose that unites them—help children gain access to a quality education
Jamaicans complete an average of 11.7 years of schooling that is equivalent to 7.2 years of learning when benchmarked against top-performing systems. This reveals a learning gap of 4.3 years, felt largely by students from poorer households. This was the findings of the Government of Jamaica Transforming Education Summit: Commitment Statement.
Prior to the pandemic, the Honourable Fayval Williams, Jamaican Minister of Education and Youth (MoEY), reached out to ASU as a global leader committed to providing quality education and flexible school program alternatives to serve families. They began discussion on how the two partners could be a resource to one another.
One of their leading priorities is to close the inequality gap in students’ learning experiences and outcomes. The relationship grew from thoughtful conversations and an invitation to visit once travel could resume.
In late September, the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica sponsored 12 delegates to come to Arizona State University to learn more about what they can do to continue transforming the education system in Jamaica. The delegates consisted of members of the Jamaican Ministry of Education and Youth, principals, and university faculty. They met with multiple stakeholders and education leaders from ASU Prep Digital, ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and ASU University Design Institute.
Opening doors through conversation
Angela Zhao, ASU Prep Digital Director of International Programming, introduced the delegates to various digital elements and different classroom models. She shared how ASU Prep supports both students and teachers through technology and the resources that can enact change in various settings.
“Helping global communities is in the interest of all of us,” said Zhao. “What was so nice about this visit was that it wasn’t to showcase us. Yes, we shared what we do well and what we can help with, but we got a lot of great questions that will help us grow too. We’re learning a lot through this relationship.”
Meghan Gibson, ASU Global Outreach & Extended Education Program Manager, Special Projects & Initiatives, said ASU was thrilled to be able to continue the relationship and meet in person for further discussions on how they can work together.
“For ASU, it provided an opportunity for continued collaboration and partnership, and leverage methods that continue to provide positive returns that will benefit others, especially in the area of education,” said Gibson. “Rather than recreate the wheel, let’s leverage the work that’s already been done, and the lessons learned to support others in the desires to strengthen their educational systems.”
This visit provided a unique opportunity for the Jamaican delegates to come together and have serious conversations regarding what strides they can take toward equitable access to education.
“Regardless of geographical location, we know education systems globally are experiencing similar shockwaves—lack of resources, decreased teacher capacity, and high expectations of teachers to not only educate, but develop, mentor, and counsel all students in preparation for their future,” said Gibson. “Our door is always open, and we’d love to help Jamaica and more school systems across the nation and world.”
ASU Prep celebrates the Jamaican Ministry of Education and Youth for leveraging global resources to unite in a shared vision to help children gain access to a quality education
Jamaican Ministry of Education and Youth
The Ministry of Education is the government entity responsible for the management and administration of public education in Jamaica. Their main office is in Kingston, Jamaica. To learn more, visit https://moey.gov.jm/about/.
About ASU Prep Digital
ASU Prep Digital is an accredited online K–12 school with more than 850 national and international partners in 24 countries. For more information, visit asuprepdigital.org/partnerships/.