AT LEAST 50 students who did not write the July 1 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam will be allowed to do so on July 21.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, during Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, said of the 232 absent students, less than 50 were absent because of covid19 related issues. She added that there were 60 absent students for CSEC and CAPE but they would have to sit their exams next year.
As the country continues planning to resume in-class school in September, the Education Minister said there is no school at this time that is not ready for that to happen. Asked about the readiness of schools for possible re-opening in September, she said school repairs have been continuous throughout the pandemic.
“As we get closer to the potential opening of schools, more effort will be made to address the many concerns that come from principals.”
Just as was done for use of schools for SEA where principals listed the emergency works needed, Gadsby-Dolly said the same approach is being used to ensure schools are ready. Apart from the infrastructure, the Education Minister said, coming out of consultations earlier this week, the ministry is calling on teachers to come forward to be vaccinated.
Another aspect of the consultation was allowing students 18-and-over to be vaccinated, as well as support staff in the schools.
Asked about the online teaching platform used during the past year, she said what teachers and students experienced was a disorganised online education system that the ministry is hoping to rectify. The past year, she said, was an ad-hoc measure created to allow children to have educational continuity, however, a proper online learning management system is needed.
“That is exactly what we are setting out to do where you have a learning management system with the required staffing that is available to manage the system. To configure it, monitor it, train teachers to use it, train students to understand it so that we can have the teachers with the e-classroom.”
E-books and other resources are also being worked on as the ministry borrows from the tertiary level systems that were in place. She said the system would “be much fuller and rewarding” and hoped that, by September, the ministry would have a better system in place for teachers and students going forward.
Regarding the need for devices, Gadsby-Dolly said of the 20,000 ordered, 8,000 were received with 7,000 already distributed.
She said as quickly as the devices arrive they would be distributed as the schools have already been sorting through the 23,000 applications submitted for devices. By the end of the month, another 4,000 devices are expected to be received and distributed.