Solar power coming to schools in Jamaica

Portfolio Minister Fayval Williams

Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth will test solar energy usage in schools through a pilot program.

Portfolio Minister Fayval Williams stated that the experiment will be conducted at 30 institutions during the first quarter of 2023, “and then, depending on the results, that will be something we would look to scale across our schools.”

She remarked that solar systems would cut the expense of cooling classrooms.

“To the extent that we can use more solar energy at our schools, you can see how our children will be in a more comfortable environment, which will enhance their teaching and learning,” she said.

On December 1, Minister Williams addressed a press conference held by the Education Transformation and Oversight Committee (ETOC) at Jamaica House in Kingston.

In an update on the effort to equip schools with high-speed internet, the Minister stated that 554 institutions had been contracted for service, of which 377 have “sufficient broadband connectivity.”

“When we talk about adequate broadband connectivity, we really mean that. There was an assessment done of all the schools…and a decision was made (on) how much broadband connectivity we should allocate to these schools,” she pointed out.

She stated that the Ministry would continue to acquire connectivity for further institutions.

Thursday’s news conference offered an update on implementing the recommendations from the 2021 ‘Reform of Education in Jamaica’ report, created by the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission, chaired by Professor Orlando Patterson (JETC).

The ETOC, led by Dr Adrian Stokes, has been tasked with overseeing the implementation.

The report identifies several priority areas, including governance and accountability, early childhood education, the teaching curriculum and teacher training, higher education, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), infrastructure and technology, and money.