The third term in the 2019-2020 school year will officially start on Monday, May 4, using the online learning platform G Suite for Education.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the announcement during an address to the country last night on matters of national importance.
She emphasized that teaching instruction would be carried out electronically only, and that “no child is to go physically to school at the school plant for classes”.
Ms. Mottley also pointed out that the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT) would be employing the G Suite Tech Drive project to assist vulnerable students who require devices, such as tablets, to participate in the e-learning platform.
The Prime Minister also lauded the private sector and those private individuals who had stepped up to offer support in the form of devices to the Ministry to ensure that no student was left behind.
Additionally, she noted that with borders closed across the world due to COVID-19, there would inevitably be “supply and logistics issues”.
“We will therefore have to see that we give first and foremost [these tablets] to those students with the greatest need across the educational system,” Ms. Mottley said.
Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, during her appearance earlier in the day on CBC TV8’s Link Up programme, said close to 3,000 teachers had been trained in the G Suite application.
She disclosed that the METVT had identified 4,000 vulnerable students in the system who did not have access to the necessary devices to facilitate online learning. She added that this figure could increase as the Ministry gathered more information in the coming weeks.
Ms. Bradshaw said the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited was working with the Ministry to help identify students who did not have access to electricity or Wi-Fi, and who would need connections.
While she said her Ministry had been collecting information on vulnerable children through teachers and principals, she urged parents who needed assistance for their children to participate in online learning to call the Ministry’s hotline at 535-0798 to articulate their needs. The hotline operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.