Ministry of Education to directly engage students with no internet access this academic year

Octavia Alfred, Minister for Education. File photo

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.”

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  1. Lin clown
    October 7, 2021

    Academically Dominica is way above the other islands.The school children today are way more educated,than Lennox Linton at least they know the difference between MAY HAVE and MUST HAVE,they also know what a CV is.

    • Phil
      October 8, 2021

      Breaking News!! Breaking News!!: The village idiot has been found-Clown.

  2. To much Talk
    October 7, 2021

    It seems those people do not have any plans nor idea what is going on…no vision…thats the worse i have seen under this party…seems like they all have covid…no smell no sight no smell..and no vision…i am getting fedup with all these foolish talk…

  3. Badbaje
    October 7, 2021

    “as we continue to device the most effective means of ensuring the well-being of our children.”

    I am no scholar. But, “device” is the wrong word here. It is a noun, not a verb. I think the minister meant “devise.” But like I said, I am no scholar.

    Go ahead leader, show us the way.

    ADMIN: Thank you for pointing that out. We have had the line corrected.

  4. Toto
    October 7, 2021

    And can these families even afford to pay for electricity never mind a laptop or a tablet.

  5. Pipo
    October 7, 2021

    We have no problem interfacing with foreign tourists visiting us but we have a problem with teaching our children face to face when these children are low risk for Covid. We can vaccinate these children but certainly mandate that all teachers and school staff must be vaccinated if they want to retain their job. Private employers have this requirement and if they see the sense of that why shouldn’t the govt Dept of Education, the vey people that impart knowledge to our young. That is for the protection of our children if not for the adults themselves.

  6. It's my damn business
    October 6, 2021

    But what Skerrit saw in Ms Octavia Alfred to make her Education minister nou? This woman in my opinion should not even be an education officer, let alone Education minister. That’s if she even knows how to turn on the internet.
    Same can be said about Roselyn Paul as Sports minister. I mean if you put a cricket ball, basketball ball, football ball, netball ball and a rounders ball together and ask Roselyn Paul to identify each of them I bet she would fail big time!
    And to be fair to them apart from Dr McIntyre that could be a good minister of Health, though he is behaving like a scavenger under Skerrit, the entire cabinet starting with Skerrit as PM and Finance minister, the entire cabinet is a bunch of misfits. No wonder Dominica is so damn backward and can go nowhere. These ministers are really behaving like boys and girls that are exposed to toys for the first time. So they are just excited playing with their toys

  7. %
    October 6, 2021

    Were you one of those who agreed for liar Skerrit to get $64000.00 per month during the pandemic, knowing fully well, many of those you all fool for votes every 5 years do not have devices??? You are a square peg in a round hole, totally lost on all pertinent issues regarding education. Do you still write at length on ” drones” madam??? This seem to be your forte.
    Finally madam can you pronounce:

    • Badbaje
      October 7, 2021

      This indeed makes one wonder, it one is using one’s brain.

  8. Da Girl
    October 6, 2021

    Give the children tablets and work out an arrangement with service providers to provide internet access to the devices. How it is done is that a sim card with data is provided to these students and they are able to access the internet and join classes, do research etc. That’s how it’s done here in SVG. What Ms. Alfred is talking about sounds so tedious and frustrating, not to mention unfair to students with no devices and access to the internet. Yes they get notes, but without instructions and explanations how are they to be able to do the work. Remember we have students with varying academic capabilities. My dear Ms. Alfred, I think this needs to go back for further discussion on how it can be improved. It will not be perfect, it’s a new initiative, but take it from a parent whose children have been doing online schooling for the entire second and third term.

  9. Ibo France
    October 6, 2021

    That photo is the face of the representation of ‘ Empty vessels make the most noise’. She is well known for creating the most decibels in a presentation or argument.

    Education and Health are two of the most critically important ministries in any government, in any country. The line ministers of these two ministries should always be optimally competent in these specific fields. You shouldn’t put a baker to tend to crops.

    Putting Octavia Alfred to oversee Education is the same as mixing oil and water. Not compatible, will never work.

    • Chrono
      October 7, 2021

      You are right on the money, Ibo.

    • Gary
      October 9, 2021

      You accused me of berating people defending my demigod, referring to the PM. When I read your above comment and the language you’re using describing the Minister, is this your method you use in exposing The Government, are you not berating the Minister. What are you trying to achieve with such a behavior. You may not like the Minister approach, that’s fine, such behavior is not going to achieve the agenda you are part of.

      If you want to expose the Minister incompetence, then why didn’t you show an alternative to what you think or why you think she is incompetent rather than berating her. As to my disagreement with the Minister handling the issue, I see a different playing field between the students who have internet access to those who do not have access to the internet in terms of how the school work is
      given, I think that the students with internet access has an advantage.

  10. Ibo France
    October 6, 2021

    This is one of the many reasons Dominica languishes at the bottom in the OECS, too many square pegs in round holes. Other reasons are greed, selfishness, uncaring attitude by those in power and authority, nepotism, victimization and this list is still incomplete.

    The present Minister of Education, Mrs. Octavia ‘Pampalam’ Alfred, is intellectually inept and superbly unqualified to handle this extremely important position. Would you expect a successful outcome by putting a tailor in a surgical theater.? Think about that last statement and the aforementioned line minister.

    • Joke I joking
      October 6, 2021

      @IBO, honestly speaking when Skerrit announced his 18 ministers my heart was in tears for the future of Dominica and at the same time I laughed that entire day because I realized Skerrit was just giving us jokes with his minister and those portfolios given. For example, he named a minister responsible for green and blue economy and up to now the minister is still wondering what the hell he means Then after naming his minister of health he announced “Honourable Kent Edwards – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry Of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, with particular responsibility for Community and Home Care”. Sadly that New health and wellness was too complicated that we have to bury the man. But when he named Roselyn Paul Sports Minister and Octavia Alfred, his education minister I said man, Dominica is in serious trouble. Honesty speaking of I had a Pre school I sure would not have that lady to run it …not in this day and age. All of them are square pegs in round…

  11. Phil
    October 6, 2021

    Madam you kinda of late- I suppose these students did not get enough of the intended results shaking their pampalam a few months ago and its only now you are realizing it. But Alas…… better late than never!!!!!

  12. Ibo France
    October 6, 2021

    When the announcement was made about online classes these questions were posed: “Does the Ministry of Education have the requisite technological infrastructure in place?”
    “Are the homes adequately equipped with Internet connection and the students with the appropriate devices (tablets, computers)?” Obviously, the cart was put before the horse.

    Students need to be taught. Handing out worksheets is not teaching. Many poor people’s children would be left behind. Poverty is a crime. The poor can take no more.

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