Schools resume October 5
As planned, the Ministry of Education is moving forward with the reopening of schools on October 5. However, there is no likelihood of face-to-face learning for the immediate future. Instead, there have been three approaches designed for the new school year.
There is the option of virtual classes, providing printed materials to drop-off points, or utilising cable, where TVJ and CVM will dedicate 24-hour channels to facilitate teaching.
"Schools will use a combination of approaches. There is an urgency for us to get all students back in the learning mode, as regards formal education. But having said that, we recognise that we are in a pandemic like no other, where fears and anxieties are high," Fayval Williams, minister of education, said.
For the online approach, teachers and students will remain at home and access lessons via the education ministry's learning management system.
"The lessons will be recorded, and students will be able to access at their convenience, as many times as they would like. And this, we believe, will help to improve the mastery of the subject matter," Williams said, noting that there are many zero-rated educational sites that can be used. These sites can be accessed without Internet or data plan.
And for this approach, the education ministry is giving preference to the about 110,000 students in grades four to six, and about 130,000 students 10 to 13, as it relates to the provision of devices to facilitate online schooling. Approximately 25,000 teachers have been trained to educate online and were outfitted with tablets.
Williams adds that both TVJ and CVM will be providing a dedicated channel for 24 hours, starting on October 5.
And for the final approach, the ministry will provide printed materials for students to utilise along with their textbooks and worksheets at home.
"These will be delivered to agreed drop-off points and at home. This approach is particularly applicable for students without Internet access," Williams said.
The ministry will also be looking at connectivity at community centres and churches.