Secretary of Education Kelvin Charles has called for a report on the delivery of education during the lockdown period.
Charles made the announcement as he responded to questions from the media during the Wednesday’s weekly post Executive Council media briefing at the Anne Mitchell Gift Auditorium of the Scarborough Library.
The pandemic has been described by Charles as “an unprecedented situation,” with schools closed since March 16 to curb the spread of covid19. As a result, teachers were asked to assist using various means – including e-learning – to engage students during the stay-at-home period.
Charles was asked whether any disciplinary action would be taken against teachers who refused to assist students.
He said, “I have asked the school supervisors to provide me with a detailed assessment beginning with the SEA classes in respect of how well those activities being executed during this period have been effected. I have asked for that in an attempt to get what you may call a granular approach, or a granular set of information, for all classes in all the schools.
“At the appropriate time, those reports would be reviewed, and principals would be asked to explain, in certain circumstances, if it appears that the approach was less than satisfactory.”
The education division, he said, in collaboration with principals and teachers engaged in various educational activities, especially using various digital platforms.
“At the ECCE level, the early childhood curriculum is normally being delivered through themes and projects and this was continued on the basis of teachers of that sector providing weekly schedule of activities in some instances and in other instances, bi-weekly set of activities to assist their students,” he said noting that the students were monitored monthly via Zoom meetings by their respective teachers.
Concerning the primary school level, Charles said various online platforms such as WhatsApp, Moodle and Zoom were utilised as well as hand delivery of school assignments.
“The data suggests that there was generally a penetration rate via the platforms of 70-95 per cent. Emphasis, however, was placed on the SEA classes for obvious reasons, because the issue of the exam was always a pertinent one and it was always a situation as to when that exam would take place.
“The approach we used at the primary school was one of reinforcement rather than having the students be engaged in new concepts, it was felt that the reinforcement approach was the better one in that students would be provided with the opportunity to engage in review lessons, assessment lessons as well as, if necessary, enrichment lessons. Thereby ensuring that some of the basic elements of learning, frequency and recency were adhered to,” he said.
The emphasis for the SEA classes was English, Math and Creative Arts.
“I am expecting a report on the degree of efficacy in respect of the use of the various platforms to generate the teaching and learning activities and interactions.”
The SEA exams have been scheduled for August 20 with Standard Five students returning to school on July 20.
Addressing the issue of secondary schools, Charles said the lessons were taped for both CSEC and CAPE and broadcast on Tobago Channel 5 and TTT.
“At the CSEC levels, lessons were produced in the following areas: Math, English A, Biology, Principles of Business, Visual Arts and O’level Chemistry.
“At the CAPE level, recorded lessons were related to Biology and Communication Studies,” he said as he commended the teachers who volunteered to have their lessons recorded as well as the IT staff.
Charles said 90 per cent of the School Based Assessments (SBAs) have been completed as secondary school students returned to school on June 8 to complete their projects. He noted that all health and safety protocols were observed.
“The areas were sanitised, sinks were installed and the necessary hand sanitisers and so on were installed to ensure that in keeping with the Ministry of Health guidelines, that we pose no risk to teachers and students.”