Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, is looking forward to the day when all students can return to school.
This was emphatically stated when Ms. Bradshaw met online with Infants A and B children and their parents, during the Let’s Talk: Conversations with The Minister session, convened today as part of activities to mark Education Month 2021.
Facilitated by the Media Resource Department and brought via YouTube, Let’s Talk allowed parents the opportunity to both engage the Minister and place their children’s feelings on the online classroom of the chat.
The Minister said: “This afternoon again I am happy to be here. I wish that I could be in the presence of all of you because I really enjoy being able to hear from our students and to hear how they feel about this online environment; how they feel about the changes that we had to make for them and to protect them as well.
“And I look forward certainly to the point where we can either return to school in a blended way, which is that you might spend some days at home, but you might spend some days in the school environment, or that ideally we can get back to all students being able to go back into the school environment very soon.”
She acknowledged that the COVID-19 environment had made it difficult for all staff, teachers, parents and children to adjust to the online classroom, and said this had also caused the young ones to miss out on interactions with teachers and friends, including the “occasional hug’, the ‘touch on the shoulder’ and engagements that showed how much teachers cared.
“I know that you have missed out on a lot of that and I know that your teachers are trying their best in the online environment to be able to still make sure that you get a good education, but I hope that you are paying attention to what teachers are saying, whether you are in the physical classroom, at your school, or whether you are in the online environment,” Ms. Bradshaw stated.
Encouraging the children to listen to their teachers and try to engage as much as possible with them, she said: “That is the only way that you are going to learn”.
She also stressed that they should continue to sanitise their hands; socially distance around people and wear their masks.
Parents were urged to help their children to understand that Government was trying to get them back to the school environment as well as to get the COVID-19 cases down.
“This was very unexpected and none of us had planned for the COVID-19 pandemic, and so we have had to make those adjustments so that you can still reach out to your teachers online,” she said, while expressing hope that all children were in possession of a device to get on line and they are able to work in the online environment.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, reminded the children that their education was very valuable to them, and this, along with good manners, would lead to a bright future.
“Good manners, boys and girls, will take you places that the best education cannot, and if you develop good manners now, your future will be extremely bright… and I believe you can all grow up to be good contributing citizens to our society,” she assured them.
Director of Education Reform Unit, Dr. Idamay Denny, urged parents to get vaccinated, so that their children could get that face-to-face psychosocial interaction with their friends.
Her message to the children was: “Tell your parents they need to do what is necessary to get you back in school. You are too young to be vaccinated, but your parents can be and your older siblings can be; so tell your parents if they and your older siblings, who are older than 12 years old, are not vaccinated, that they are doing you harm.”
Dr. Denny continued: “They are not allowing you to get the development that you need in order to develop into the kind of citizens that your country can be proud of. So, ask them to let us see you face-to-face in the very near future.”