TTUTA Tobago remains worried over virtual schooling

TTUTA Tobago Officer Bradon Roberts -
TTUTA Tobago Officer Bradon Roberts -

With school officially set to begin next Monday, TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts remains worried.

Schools were closed on March 13 as a measure against the spread of covid19.

In a press release recently, Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said school would resume in September, using online teaching methods.

In Tobago, to measure and adjust the approaches and arrangements to teaching and learning in this new era, a pilot test involving six primary schools was done from September 1-4, while two early childhood care and education centres (ECCEs) held a pilot scheme on September 4.

Contacted for an update on Monday, THA Education Secretary Kelvin Charles said the system is still being monitored.

“Last week and this week are primarily for planning, orientation and testing the system,” he said.

Roberts said based on the feedback to date, most teachers are still planning, as most schools are still preparing for online teaching.

He said: “A virtual lesson would take probably a day, and that is one lesson, and there would be couple lessons within one day and if you have to plan for the week – because you can’t do one lesson and feel that you’re set to engage children, because while you’re engaging, you would not be able to do planning. While you’re correcting, while you’re taking care of your family, you would not be able to do that.

"So teachers would have to use a lot of their personal time for planning, and they would most likely capitalise on the two-week period here to plan as much as possible.”

Roberts said teachers had already expressed the challenges, which he himself had also experienced.

“I would have been in several meetings, even with the division, where the connection would drop by some persons, where you’re not hearing them properly or they may get bumped off. So that would have been experienced even at the division meetings.

"So it will be challenging. It is now to see how best we can accommodate and overcome those challenges,” he said.

In a previous interview Roberts said an estimated 4,000 students in Tobago needed laptops, tablets or personal computers. The issue of students without devices, he said, “remains a headache.”

The Education Division has also asked teachers to make printed work available for those who do not have internet access.

In the interim, Charles said the division is engaging the business community to help bridge the gap to ensure all students can work from home.

Roberts said: “The photocopiers are lacking in many schools. I know that the administrator admitted that there are photocopiers in Trinidad to come over, to be supplied to schools. Some would be serviced that are already existing in the school system. But it would be a major challenge to overcome.”


"TTUTA Tobago remains worried over virtual schooling"

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