Morgan: Remedial strategy for displaced students under discussion
Robert Nesta Morgan, the state minister in the Ministry of Education, has said the ministry is currently discussing means to provide a remedial strategy for students who have not been able to adequately engage with the education system due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morgan was responding on Wednesday to questions concerning whether the school year would be extended to facilitate affected students, during an online Gleaner forum on children’s issues during the pandemic.
“I think we are discussing all possible options as it relates to children who may have been [affected], as a lot of children have not had as extensive an interaction with the formal education system as they usually would, and there is some concern within the sector that some children are going to be left behind. We are currently in discussions with a strategy to offer some sort of remedial intervention for children in the education system to ensure they are not left behind,” said Morgan.
“That is something we are working on right now, and the chief executive officer, Dr Kasan Troupe, is intensely engaging with the regions. We have also had suggestions from the Guild of Students [at The University of the West Indies] for students who are not as engaged in the university system to be participating in their communities with a system of remedial education for children who may not have had as intense an interaction with the system as possible,” Morgan added.
Schools were forced to close their doors in March due to the global outbreak of COVID, for which 10,864 infections and 258 deaths have been recorded locally to date. Since that time, the Ministry of Education has pushed for students to get connected with online schooling, with classes being conducted on platforms such as Zoom and Google Classroom.
Morgan also addressed the extension of the ministry’s pilot programme to restart face-to-face classes, which was launched at 17 schools across Jamaica earlier this month.
“The pilot was a period of intense assessment and analysis to see if there are any challenges that the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health would need to intervene in. We got a very good report from the schools, and we have had very good acceptance of the protocols from the parents, teachers, and students, but there are areas of improvement that the minister [Education Minister Fayval Williams] will be speaking about next week, so you can look out for that,” said Morgan.
“We are seeking to expand it [programme] to more schools as we learn from what we have done in the pilot phase, and we are engaging with the Ministry of Health and the schools to do that.”