She noted that the most unambiguous indication that the government does not have the current health crisis under control is that In just under one month the Ministry of Health has reported an increase of 3,157 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 55 new related deaths.
Dr. Brown Burke believes that the risk that teachers, parents, and students face under these circumstances is one that should not be ignored. When taken in the context of a population with a high percentage of persons with underlying health conditions, the concerns about face-to-face activities in school at this time are reasonable.
“Rebuilding a better and stronger education system in 2020 requires urgent attention to diversifying technology for delivery of content that is universally available as well as addressing the glaring inequities in the education system,” she reasoned.
She is recommending a robust partnership with all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, alumni associations, and other NGOs in the sector in charting a path that could see more significant improvement in performance while reducing inequity and addressing other issues that negatively affect teaching-learning outcomes.
In addition, Dr Brown Burke said, “It is not too late to correct some of the inequities and is urging the Ministry of Education to pay special attention to vulnerable families and to help them take advantage of the changes as we embrace the new normal in the educational sector.”
She said many of these families would need assistance in accessing the new technology as well as improving their nutrition intake as part of laying the foundation for a successful teaching-learning process. She noted that vulnerable families at this time go beyond individuals on the Path programme as the fallout from the pandemic takes its toll on families overall.
Additionally, Dr Brown Burke wishes to commend teachers, parents, and students on the modest improvement in performance in the 2020 CSEC and Cape exams. These are commendable given the prevailing conditions. “It is obvious that our students are more resilient than we have been giving them credit for,” she remarked.
Dr Brown Burke is also insisting that children with special needs be included as a priority in the Ministry’s effort to ensure that their development is kept pace with their cohorts.
- Countries: Jamaica
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