Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly held a media briefing August 28 to outline how the new term and academic year 2020-2021 would be managed. She announced the term will run September 1 to December 11 and schools will be open, but students are not required to be physically present until further advised.
Teachers are expected to deliver the curriculum remotely. Gadsby-Dolly said, “For those who are available on the online environment it is expected teachers will use the ministry’s curriculum guidelines for online learning which will be provided for them, which will contain useful resources.” The ministry’s School Learning Management System online platform is available for teachers. Gadsby-Dolly said for students without devices or connectivity, estimated to be about 65,000, teachers are expected to provide printed packages for parents to collect and drop off at schools.
Feedback from teachers will be provided “in this way”. Training will be provided for teachers in printed material for remote teaching. Gadsby-Dolly said, “Work from home arrangements for teachers are to be encouraged and principals are to approve this once delivery of the curriculum is not compromised”.
The Ministry has suggested:
September 1–4: school-led teacher training and planning, development of work plans, production of printed material, registration for First Year intake in primary schools. Ministry will provide printed resource material for schools.
September 7–11: continued lesson planning and preparation, parent and class-orientation activities, distribution of timetables and printed material. Teaching and learning to begin for schools that are ready.
September 14: all schools begin teaching and learning.
The Ministry will use channels 4 and 16 for instructional material and radio for general education features. A weekly pullout in the print media will target the Early Childhood Care and Education centres and Infant year.
The School Feeding programme will provide 500 lunches daily to be delivered from September 7 to the offices of Members of Parliament for distribution by non-governmental organisations. Guidance officers and social workers will be engaged for the term.
Gadsby-Dolly said counsellors were trained in online delivery and schools will receive manuals on how this will take place. Students with special needs will receive assistance through the Student Support Services Division. The government is considering providing some electronic devices for children. She appealed for the corporate sector to work with the Ministry in the ‘Adopt a school’ initiative.
During the Q and A, Gadsby-Dolly said there will be no final exam this term but teachers are expected to do “continuous assessment”. For the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam and students doing vocational courses that have practical elements, she said these will be postponed. Teachers are asked to “go forward with theory this term and …pick up the practical next term”.
The Ministry has recommended to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) that practical components be reduced.
Gadsby-Dolly announced with the interruptions in the school year, consideration is being given to reducing the number of topics for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) 2021 and 2022 while keeping the same format. The SEA exam is also set by CXC. Gadsby-Dolly said stakeholders have asked for it to be held later in the year. Results of the 2020 SEA will be released October 8.