Opposition agrees with delay in face-to-face learning

September 23, 2020
Angela Brown-Burke

Opposition spokesperson on Education and Training, Dr Ángela Brown Burke, says she agrees wholeheartedly with the concerns raised by our teachers and principals, that the risk remains too high for face-to-face learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Mrs. Brown-Burke noted that, in the past month the Ministry of Health has reported a spike in COVID cases, with a total of 5,395 confimred cases, and a total of 76 deaths as of Tuesday.

Dr. Brown Burke say she believes 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," she stated. 

“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 has recommended 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 informed that 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. 

Additionally, Dr Brown Burke has commended teachers, parents, and students on the modest improvement in performance in the 2020 CSEC and Cape exams. The results 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.

Mrs. Brown Burke  also insists 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.

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