MANDEVILLE, Manchester – Four years ago, Judian Wright sought to register a fully virtual school to offer Caribbean students a convenient way to study for regional exams, but the Ministry of Education did not accept her online school.
With the onset of the coronavirus in the country, Wright has since been given the green light to launch the Caribbean Online Academy as schools continue to transition to online learning.
“… I shared the vision that I wanted the school to be registered with the ministry [but] at that time they weren’t able to accept registration, reason being this school here is fully online, so based on their policies. They weren’t able to accept it [in 2016],” Wright, who is chief executive officer of the online school, told the Jamaica Observer during a recent interview.
“Since COVID, I went back to share again my interest in registering the institution, this was when they said they will be able to accept the application,” she added.
The online school, which is focused on secondary level education in offering sessions for students in preparation for Caribbean exams, offers its online learning to students across the region.
“We have learners across the region studying with us. We are focused on secondary education. Preparing students for the Caribbean standardised examinations—Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) — so we have a full online six form academy. We facilitate adults in our continued education programmes. We also have extra class programmes for high school students,” she said.
Wright disclosed that the online school offers flexibility with there being recorded sessions.
“A young man shared with me that for years he wanted to do subjects in order to move on with his education. He is a security guard and he has been collecting flyers but couldn’t get an opportunity to go to school based on the schedule. We create our own platform, so we could have invested in the development of a platform where students have access to recorded lectures and assessment instruments,” she pointed out.
She disclosed that several classes are currently being offered online.
“We have over 30 classes running online right now with 16 instructors and approximately 300 enrolled students from not just Jamaica, but [other countries] in the Caribbean, namely Antigua, St Kitts, St Vincent, Trinidad, Barbados,” she said.
The online school focuses on the sciences and arts as well as the compulsory subjects, mathematics and English.
“One of the greatest advantages with our platform is that you can study on your own time, so you can determine your skill. If you want to wake up at 2 o’ clock and do your classes, then the classes are there,” she said.
Wright, who is also the CEO of South East College, hails from Junction in St Elizabeth, where one of two physical facilities for the college is located, with the other being in Mandeville.
“There are three campuses that we have. We have Junction, Mandeville and we have an online campus. We have students as far as Cayman studying with us,” she said.
Wright now has her vision set on a fully virtual high school which she hopes to achieve in the short term.
“In the short term, what I am looking at is to have a full high school programme where students can start from grade seven and go right up to six form… Right now, we have high school students, but they are more extra class [related],” she said.
The online academy can be accessed at www.caribbeanonlineacademy.com.
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