End the school term now!

Letters to the Editor

End the school term now!

Monday, May 04, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The Government has insisted that the school term will continue as is with the delivery of the curriculum online. I didn't need to have a conversation with one constituent of Clarendon North Central to know that this would pose a serious challenge for us, as a constituency, as more areas are without proper Internet facilities than those with them.

However, I have had the conversations and the plight of many students and their parents includes struggles to access the Internet and paying for access in the areas where it does work well. There are also struggles to get in tuned with the audiovisual form of lessons delivered by TV and the significant cost for teachers to attempt to deliver material physically to some areas in the constituency.

I encourage the constant engagement of the brain by strategies derived by the ministry, our educators, and our parents; however, we must come to accept that the continuation of the school term to deliver the remaining curriculum for the school year outside the formal school system has been failing, not because our hard-working teachers aren't trying their best to look out for the needs of their students, but because the facilities to help our teachers, particularly in deep rural areas, do not exist.

While online teaching may work in some urban constituencies, the ministry and minister (who happens to be the prime minister) must accept the plight of those students living in rural constituencies whose parents can't afford data plans. Moreover, the Internet remains inaccessible to many. Additionally, some parents aren't sufficiently educated to keep children in check where schoolwork is concerned. Not to mention that often the home environment isn't conducive to learning.

The Ministry of Education should proceed to end the school term now, as many students will get lost. I know as a matter of fact that many in Clarendon North Central have already fallen behind since the closure of school some six weeks ago.

We must not delude ourselves into believing that the school term can continue as is without a significant fallout.

I urge the ministry to end the school term now and use the time to reach out to the various stakeholders in education to plan for the future on how and when to deliver the curriculum for this lost term, and put in place measures to ensure that the education system, if faced with another crisis, is ready to deal with it.

Dr Desmond Brennan

People's National Party candidate

Clarendon North Central


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