Education Minister Octavia Alfred has stated that her ministry will provide more direct engagement to facilitate students with no internet access and devices during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The new academic year opened on Monday October 4, and students from various schools across the island were instructed to attend classes online from home due to the current Covid-19 surge.
“For students with no device and no internet, there will be more direct engagement,” Alfred said. “Worksheets and activity cards with explanatory notes and instructions will be prepared for these students.”
Alfred said the school work will be collected by the students or their parents from their school or the work will be delivered to the students who will return completed work to the school for feedback.
“All students will work in textbooks,” she stated.
“There is no one size fits all approach during this current situation,” the minister pointed out. “But remain convinced that the best course of action is to ensure the safety of all our children while meaningfully engaging them in learning.”
She thanked the parents, students, teachers, principals, Ministry of Education officials and all other stakeholders for their patience and understanding, “as we continue to devise the most effective means of ensuring the well-being of our children.”
She also empathized with the parents who face difficulty with supervision of small aged children while they are at work.
“It is a concern for me too. However, we are unable under the current circumstances and based on the advice from the Ministry of Health, to allow our children to return to face-to-face instructions in a school setting,” Alfred indicated.
She asked for support and understanding during this period, “and like all of you, I look forward to the time when we will be able to return to the physical classroom.”
Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth who spoke on State owned DBS Radio has appealed to all to be supportive in this time of crisis.
“It is a time of crisis and we recognize it is a time of anxiety as well, so we appeal for all to be supportive as we approach this new year,” she stated. “We know it will be difficult as persons get impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will expect anxiety; we may even have depression, so we appeal to all to be supportive.”
Hyacinth added, “ As we reopen in this period of uncertainty We have to reconnect , we have to rebuild structures to help all feel safe and we understand that and we will do all in our power, all that we can do to help our students and our staff to settle in as we start learning and teaching again.”