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Adopt new techniques to meet the times - Kirlew

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2020 | 12:05 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Rev Karen Kirlew
Rev Karen Kirlew

Western Bureau:

The Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in St James, which started its 2020-2021 academic year on Monday, has been informed that perseverance in the ongoing COVID-19 environment will require adopting new techniques to meet the times.

The sobering message was delivered to the college family by Reverend Karen Kirlew, the immediate past president of the Jamaica Baptist Union, while she participated in the college’s virtual invocation service on Monday.

“Today, the dynamics of the world’s life are shifting; the world has changed with the onset of COVID-19: perspectives, standards in some cases, ideas and perceptions have changed; so radical alterations have had to be made in the way we do things, in concepts and in practices,” Kirlew stated.

The twin-campus college, which features the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and the Caribbean Maritime University Western Campus, started the 2020-21 academic year with an enrolment of 750 students.

In keeping with the COVID-19 protocols, the teaching and learning process is being facilitated and synchronised through various platforms, including the Moodle learning management system, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual platforms.

In speaking to the need to meet the paradigm shift that has been sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kirlew said the education sector, like others, will have to undergo some fundamental changes to meet its mandate to its stakeholders.

“Changes will have to be made in terms of approaches, reordering priorities, using more resources, in particular spheres of engagement, and less in other spheres,” said Kirlew.

Adapting with changes

“As changes are being made, institutions like the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College are being mindful that it must still provide higher technical, professional and managerial skills that our country needs for national development.”

Kirlew, who was speaking on the theme ‘Perseverance in a Shifting Paradigm’, said the call to perseverance was about keeping hopeful and faithful, noting that it means being dedicated to the task even under changing circumstances.

In acknowledging the difficult circumstances that educators have found themselves in as a result of the changes they are being forced to make, Kirlew said the situation requires creativity, and the notion of giving up should not be contemplated.

“Think of the many who have been so tested that they have been tempted to give up, of those who have been falling under the pressure; and I also think of the many who have been staying the course, regardless,” said Kirlew, who went on to reference the Book of James in the Bible, stating, “They faced trials of many kinds though their faith is being tested, but they are also intent on allowing perseverance to finish its work.”

Interestingly, Dr Lorna Gow-Morrison, the principal at Sam Sharpe, said she was pleased that the shifting paradigm under which the invocation service was being held allowed for wider participation, including college alumni residing overseas.

“The Internet service at the college is being upgraded and by the end of next month, a vastly more improved service should be available to the school community,” the principal noted.