Opposition sides with delay in face-to-face teaching
Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Training, Dr Angela Brown Burke, says she agrees wholeheartedly with the concerns raised by teachers and principals that the risk remains too high for face-to-face learning due to COVID-19.
Jamaica has seen a spike in virus cases in recent weeks with the country recording a total of 5,395 COVID-19 infections along with 76 fatalities, as of Tuesday.
In a statement today, Brown Burke said believes that the risk that teachers, parents, and students face under these circumstances is one that should not be ignored.
“When taken in the context of a population with a high percentage of persons with underlying health conditions, the concerns about face-to-face activities in school at this time are reasonable.
“Rebuilding a better and stronger education system in 2020 requires urgent attention to diversifying technology for delivery of content that is universally available as well as addressing the glaring inequities in the education system,” she reasoned.
She is recommending a robust partnership with all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, alumni associations, and other non-governmental organisations in the sector, in charting a path that could see more significant improvement in performance while reducing inequity and addressing other issues that negatively affect teaching-learning outcomes.
“It is not too late to correct some of the inequities and I am urging the Ministry of Education to pay special attention to vulnerable families and to help them take advantage of the changes as we embrace the new normal in the educational sector.”
Meanwhile, Brown Burke is commending teachers, parents, and students on the modest improvement in performances in the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) exams given the prevailing conditions.
“It is obvious that our students are more resilient than we have been giving them credit for,” she remarked.
Brown Burke is also insisting that children with special needs be included as a priority in the Ministry’s effort to ensure that their development is kept pace with their cohorts.
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