Moruca students get electronic tablets

– as plans to boost e-learning progress
– talks ongoing with Digicel for subsidised data for 60 CSEC teachers

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon Collin Croal distributed two dozen tablets to the Moruca sub-region, Barima-Waini (Region One) on Monday as its Department of Education moves to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on education delivery.

Minister Croal, who holds Parliamentary responsibility for the region, was there for the swearing-in of the Regional Democratic Council.

During the distribution exercise, the Minister urged education officials to ensure that the devices are used for their intended purpose as students have had limited traditional schooling this year due to the pandemic.

“This [distribution] is important because our children for the most part of this year, have not been able to access the type of education delivery required. Many of them are home and their minds have been deactivated from the classroom. So, we want to start that process of re-engaging their minds, their ability to start looking at things objectively and to start thinking,” he said.

Meanwhile, District Education Officer Ms. Cliva Joseph said education has not remained static in the region, despite the pandemic.  “We had start[ed] working and we know that given the privilege, given the resources, given everything that the persons in the city would have, we are going to make it happen,” she said.

Grade 10 and 11 students writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and those writing the National Grade Six Assessments (NGSA), will be prioritised in how the learning aides will be distributed. Ms. Joseph said the tablets will ensure these students receive instruction.  The CSEC matriculation has doubled and educators have been longing to receive equipment to keep students engaged, she said.

Over the past week, teachers and students received hundreds of print packages in Region One, following a visit from Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand over the weekend. Moruca schools have received their quota and have since put systems in place to have them distributed to pupils and their parents/guardians, Ms. Joseph said.

“We are thankful to the Ministry of Education and those who would have kept the promise and fulfilled it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Education Officer, Mr. Marti DeSouza said despite limited internet connectivity and other challenges since schools closed in March, teachers have not shirked their responsibilities.

“Many people feel that because we are in the hinterland, we cannot join the bandwagon, with regards to e-learning,” Mr. DeSouza said.

Many teachers engaged students with booklets and through the use of electronic media, he explained, adding that fruitful discussions have been held with Digicel to cut internet costs for over 60 CSEC teachers.

The tablet distribution falls under a budgeted allocation to the Region One Department of Education. Plans are also in place to ensure the sub-regions of Mabaruma and Matarkai benefit. Additionally, an online symposium was hosted with teachers across all the sub-regions, including Mabaruma and Matarkai.

Since the PPP/C administration came into office, Minister Manickchand has put a comprehensive plan into action to ensure that students countrywide can access online education. They are also provided with worksheets and other learning resources to complete the schools’ curriculum.

Information and communication technology training has also been provided to teachers to ensure they can provide e-learning across several platforms.

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