What's the plan for teaching?

In this file photo, form four students from Queen's Royal College head home after face-to-face classes in Port of Spain. Photo by Roger Jacob -
In this file photo, form four students from Queen's Royal College head home after face-to-face classes in Port of Spain. Photo by Roger Jacob -

On Tuesday, the Education Minister met with officials of TTUTA about the plan to bring students from forms one to three back to the classroom.

A government statement about the meeting noted that, "Feedback has been received of the difficulty some schools are experiencing in delivery online to forms 1-3 and physically to forms 4-6."

It's unclear exactly how that challenge will be resolved, but TTUTA has called for the Education Ministry to commit to one or the other.

On Friday, TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas told Newsday that the association was not given a straight answer.

Teachers are finding it difficult to simultaneously teach online and physical classes, trying to deliver education to vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

According to De Frietas, the association is concerned that reopening school for forms ones to three will bring more inequity for students.

Before face-to-face classes began on October 1, TTUTA raised concerns about infrastructure and classroom organisation. The Education Ministry was, De Frietas said, dealing with the matter one step at a time.

TTUTA also called for discussions with the Chief Personnel Officer about the terms and conditions for teachers in a demanding and rapidly changing education environment.

Last week's meeting was a step forward in addressing TTUTA's running complaints of inadequate consultations, which led to strike action on two days over the last fortnight.

Dr Gadsby-Dolly must acknowledge TTUTA's concerns more fully and be better prepared to consult on strategy for dealing the potential for a greater educational divide to develop between students who are vaccinated and in the classroom and those who are unvaccinated and at home.

On Friday, the Education Minister congratulated CSEC and CAPE students on their performance in the CXC examinations.

CXC director of operations Dr Nicole Manning announced on Thursday that Guyana topped the examinations with an 80 per cent pass rate in integrated mathematics and a 69 per cent pass rate in integrated science.

Guyana also topped the region for human and social biology and information technology.

But the CXC's general report also noted the highest number of absenteeism among candidates in both exams in four years.

Not counting deferrals, 8.3 per cent of students did not show up for CAPE exams and 11.23 per cent were absent for CSEC.

Dr Gadsby-Dolly promised her own breakdown of TT's performance in the regional examinations this week, and a clear and insightful analysis of the reality of the exam results from her ministry might guide more effective education strategy.

The Education Ministry cannot plan one step or one day at a time, it must demonstrate strategic foresight and liability planning that acknowledges pandemic realities.


"What's the plan for teaching?"

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