Post-Cabinet ministerial statement & press conference – March 25, 2021. (PMO)

When the third term of the academic year 2020-2021 officially starts on April 20 for students, it will bring with it another initiative – a mental health committee to address the needs of children, providing support to them and their teachers.

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, revealed this during last evening’s press conference at Ilaro Court, where she announced the reopening of schools and a return to face-to-face learning on April 20.

 The committee follows on the heels of the Ministry’s decision last year to introduce school monitors.

Elaborating on the rationale behind it, she stated that after much consultation with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, persons within the Psychiatric Hospital, and counsellors who have spoken to students, parents and teachers over the course of the last year that it was important to assess and see where the students are.

“And so, as we return to the classroom environment, it is our intention that we will establish a mental health committee, a mental health and wellness committee, I should say to be able to look at how our children have fared during this period, as well as our teachers.  And, it is not something that we want to do just as a one off.

“We want to ensure that we can follow the progress of these students, and to provide the necessary support to them, as well as to their teachers over the course of at least the next three years, because it has not been easy for any of us or any of them to be able to cope with this particular transition,” she stressed.

Acknowledging that the Ministry would not always get it right, Ms. Bradshaw, admitted that there would be challenges and that they hadn’t “gotten everything right in this pandemic”. 

However, she said it was her belief that what all Barbadians had been united on was “the effort to make sure that we try to do the best that we can for this country”.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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