Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Hon. Octavia Alfred is satisfied with the reopening on schools thus far.
Online learning has already commenced for fifth form student who are getting set to write the CSEC exams next year. The Ministry of Education welcomed fifth form students island wide to virtual classes via the Google classroom on September 13.
Minister Alfred says from all reports the first week of classes were near outstanding. She says a few complaints were received in relation to poor internet connection and the lack of electricity.
“These we had very little control over. Parents, teachers, students and school managers made a great effort and for this the Ministry of Education is extremely grateful. Though self-regulation and motivation has been identified as two critical factors for success in online learning and our school counselors are working with students in these areas. Self-regulation is the students’ ability to plan monitor and evaluate their own behavior, cognition and learning strategies. Now there are skills that students at all levels can be taught to help them in these areas,” Hon. Alfred stated.
Non self-regulating students continue to demonstrate procrastination and disorganization. Minister Alfred says these habits are of major concerns to the Ministry and its teachers as well as parents.
“This includes how students manage their time, how they incorporate and integrate information they receive online from textbooks and worksheets, and tutorials, from fact sheets and other resources, to complete and present their assignments properly and on time. The Ministry of Education is engaged in more than monitoring and giving feedback; we are reviewing curriculum content and trying to anticipate areas of potential challenges. This is why we have a structured time tables, and we have videos and tutorials, and the library services will provide resource packs on SBA topics to assist students in their review of literature for their SBAs,” the Minister explained.
Communication remains a critical characteristic in online learning. The schools provide an interaction aspect, from student to student or teacher to students at the end of their online sessions.
“Some schools do home room at the end of each day where teachers meet with their students to find out how the day went. The Ministry of Education engages the public in our Wednesday radio programme and we have sessions with parents on Mondays and Tuesdays in the evening online. Form 5 students without internet access are facilitated at the primary schools in their community. These numbers are very small and we know the students and so we are working to facilitate internet connection for them at home. The Ministry of Education commends all our officers, principals, teachers, and parents for the efforts that is being made to ensure that our student learning continues,” Minister Alfred added.