The online learning initiative of the Ministry of Education continues during the state of public health emergency which now exists in Dominica because of COVID-19.
That’s what Education Minster, Octavia Alfred, said last week at a Ministry of Education press briefing on COVID-19.
“Learning is continuing through online platforms and teachers are engaged in the preparation of activity packs for their students. To facilitate this, the ministry has asked principles to use management discretion and ask teachers to report to schools on specific days to prepare work for students,” she stated.
Alfred said although all secondary schools now have access to the internet, six (6) primary schools have not been connected.
She said students who do not have access to the internet and mobile devices will receive activity sheets.
“Arrangements will be made by schools for parents to pick up their children’s work packets. The children will complete the work at home and the parents will return them for assessment,” Alfred explained.
The minister said that online classes are mainly being done via Google Classroom and are equipped with video communication software, Zoom, which has a capacity of up to one hundred (100) participants.
She revealed that more than fourteen thousand (14,000) education.gov.dm email addresses have been activated and more than eight hundred (800) of one thousand and twenty-one (1021) teachers access the platform.
“Five thousand five hundred (5500) students have access and presently six hundred and forty-five (645) teachers are connected to the Ministry of Education Resource Training Classroom. The resource classroom is a common online area where education officers and teachers congregate to share information resources and content to facilitate online learning,” Alfred added.
She said over three thousand five hundred (3500) classrooms were created by the end of the second term and over 2,000 assignments were posted.
The Education Minister encouraged the use of the Digicel’s Learning Hub, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Learning Hub and the online One-On-One Classroom Flow Study and to review content for both the primary and secondary school levels.
“Review past papers are available for The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CESC) exam. Check the CXC learning hub on the cxclearninghub.cxc.org or access on the website cxc.org. The ministry has also prepared flash drives with interactive learning materials as well as examination past papers for all students of grade five and six,” Alfred said.
As of next week, recorded classroom sessions will be broadcast via the Government Information Service (GIS) and will be available on social media.
With respect students who have access to the internet but are not taking advantage of this opportunity, Alfred called on parents to take up their supervisory role at home and encourage their children to log in to the online portals to participate.
“We recognize the challenges that exist with access and internet and devices. The government is working with the service providers to bring connectivity to areas, especially in the east coast and parts of the north and south. We are also in an advanced stage of securing devices,” she assured.
She also indicated that the examination date of the Re-grade 6 National assessment will be revised as the situation is being monitored nationally and in terms of CESC, CAPE or The Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), although exams days have been revised and submitted by CXC, Caribbean countries are monitoring the health situation as a region.
“We give a special note of gratitude and a high note of commendation to our principals and teachers for your effort and diligence in such a time like this,” the Education Minister stated.
The Ministry of Education has in place a support mechanism for staff teachers, students and parents who encounter difficulty or need advice.