Gov’t seized of COVID learning loss – Holness
In acknowledging the learning loss in students that has alarmed teachers and principals, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asserted that remedial classes might be necessary to address the issue.
Schools have been shuttered for the most part since mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has given 129 institutions the green light to reopen this term.
Some education stakeholders have theorised that it will take many months – or even years – to recover from learning loss due to many students not being able to access lessons in cyberspace for almost a year. Many of whom were able to gain access to virtual classes also had irregular attendance due to device and Internet connectivity issues.
“Without question, the pandemic will have an impact, so we must now start to consider how we mitigate that impact and one of the mitigating actions is to ensure that all students have a device,” he said as he distributed 600 devices in his St Andrew West Central constituency.
“We will also have to consider how we remediate and make up for lost time in terms of the teaching and learning, and the Ministry of Education is working on that. The Government of Jamaica is seized of the possible negative impact that we will see manifest in a few months from now in terms of the education output, both in terms of quality and the number of persons meeting standards for matriculation,” he added.
Some school administrators also reporting low attendance at schools which have resumed face-to-face learning, the prime minister is encouraging students to return to the classroom if their schools have been cleared.
“The Government is looking at all our institutions to see which institutions have the requisite resources of space, are less reliant on public transportation, have low community spread, and the teachers understand and implement the protocols fully. In those schools, we would encourage students to go back, we will approve their returning, but at the same time, we will expect that these students will become advocates for the programme,” Holness stated.