Jamaica pilot experience

Accessible Digital Textbooks that transform education

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Jamaica workshop
UNICEF
16 June 2022

Sign language, voice-overs, music and interactive activities are the features that will be available in the digital versions of the Accessible Digital Textbooks (ADT) of Jamaica, thanks to the project that we have been promoting since 2021.

As UNICEF, we work alongside the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the Jamaica Library Service, the Jamaica Association for the Deaf and the Salvation Army School for the Blind.

ADT will allow students with diverse abilities to interact and learn equally. These books fit their different learning styles!

The goal that guides our efforts is that between 2021-2023, Jamaica will have adapted a core set of 12 picture books that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information uses in grades 1º, 2º and 3º of primary education.

These books are part of the national curriculum and aim to be accessible for every child and adolescent by ensuring narration, sign language, interactivity activities and the audio description of images.

 

Find out what these books are at Bookfusion.com

“We want educational materials to be equally available to all students and the Universal Design for Learning approach allows us to think critically about ways to creatively engage children with and without disabilities.”

 

 

“Universal design principles allow us to really make the material come alive for all students so that they can relate more with what they are learning.”

Rebecca Tortello, UNICEF Education Specialist
A girl smiles, pencil in hand, in a classroom at Drew Avenue Primary School in Kingston, the capital. UNICEF provides the school with textbooks and other supplies.
UNICEF/UNI42231/Noorani

Here are the plans for the pilot in Jamaica:

Pilot

2021

2022

2023

Results

6 ADTs for grades 1, 2 and 3

6 ADTs for grades 1, 2 and 3

6 ADTs for grades 1, 2 and 3

Target population

5.000 children

10.000 children

15.000 children

In early 2022, we trained the project’s technical working group which resulted in the drafting of the storyboards for conversion. Those titles are on track to be completed by the end of 2022 and the remaining six are on target for completion in 2023. 

Sesión participativa de trabajo para el proyecto de libros de texto digitales en Jamaica

Jamaica is the first English speaking country in the region to begin incorporating universal design into its publishing ecosystem but based on the excitement of the experience so far, it certainly will not be the last!

Workshop participant

As UNICEF, we have a long working history with Jamaica seeking to expand access for ALL Jamaican students to quality education and active citizenship. This has motivated us to:

  • Complete the revision of the national special education curricula.
  • Sustained advocacy for the finalization of the special education policy.
  • Develop an inclusive education course for early childhood.

 

Watch this mini parenting masterclass on caring for children with disabilities

UNICEF

Besides ADT project, we have worked with Special Olympics Jamaica to increase its volunteer network, extend its healthy athlete screenings, and train coaches in safeguarding through sports methodology.

We have also placed specific emphasis on the national early screening, identification and referral pathway that begins with the UNICEF-funded national Child Health Development Passport and Jamaica School Readiness Assessment administered nationally to all 4-year-olds.