The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT) has reported that online teaching has started at all tertiary institutions and most private schools.
This follows consultations last week with substantive Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw and ministry officials with principals of all public and private schools and with the teacher and principal unions.
During this week, April 20 to 24, all public schools will be preparing to roll out online teaching using the Google G Suite for Education platform. This platform may be accessed from any PC, laptop, tablet or smart mobile device.
The METVT emphasized the importance of education to the nation’s children during the curfew period. Additionally, while the Ministry works with providers and suppliers to ensure every child has internet access and devices to utilize the new e-learning platform, it will also be using radio and television in the interim to provide educational content to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. The times and dates for this content will be shared in due course.
Furthermore, parents/guardians of students who have not yet received the information on how to log on to the Google G Suite for Education platform are asked to contact the principals or the class teachers of their respective schools to receive the details. Persons may also call the Ministry’s Helpdesk at 535-0798, between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Since the end of the last term, during the Easter vacation, the Ministry, through its officers and the Information Technology Coordinators, has been training teachers in the use of the Google G Suite Classroom. Approximately 80 per cent of teachers have been trained.
The Ministry advises those schools and teachers who are ready to engage with their students using the Google G Suite Classroom that they may do so, but no new concepts are to be taught.
This week provides an opportunity to identify any issues with the Google Classroom that need to be addressed and to ensure that all teachers are comfortable with this new emergency response teaching platform.
It also allows the Ministry of Education an opportunity to finalize protocols for teachers, students and parents to operate in an online environment.
Further information may be found on the Ministry’s website www.mes.gov.bb. The METVT said it was aware that the e-learning environment was new to teachers, students and parents, but pointed out it would be “an exciting learning experience for all”.
It also asked all parties to be patient “as we work to ensure that the nation’s children are not disadvantaged during this period of shut down”.
The Ministry said it would continue to update members of the public on the way forward and encouraged “all Barbadians to continue to practise physical distancing and stay safe”.