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…Grades 10, 11, 6th Form, PIC and TVET students return to the classroom
Schools across the country reopened Monday for students in Grades 10 and 11, 6th Form and those attending Practical Instruction Centres (PIC) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions.
Schools have been closed since March 2020 due to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Students in lower grades will continue to benefit from virtual classes.
The Government of Guyana had given the ‘green light’ for this level of students to return to the classroom.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand visited several schools in Georgetown including the St Roses High School, Queen’s College and Brickdam Secondary and the West Demerara Secondary.
During her visits, the Education Minister interacted with students and teachers, most of whom were pleased to return to the classroom.
At the West Demerara Secondary School, the students, who were clad with masks and sat six feet apart, told Minister Manickchand that the face-to-face contact is preferred since it ensures that they are not distracted. They said that although they were being taught online, many times they were distracted and are unable to concentrate on their work.
The teachers expressed similar sentiments as their students, noting that the virtual platform has its challenges which range from poor connectivity to no connectivity.
In most cases, the teachers said while a favourable percentage of students have been engaged online, others were not. This they said challenged the completion of School-based Assessments (SBA) and Internal Assessments (IA) which are critical components for students writing CSEC and CAPE in 2021.
The Education Minister assured the teachers that her Ministry will support schools in their efforts to complete their syllabi. She said though the Ministry of Education is firm on certain processes employed by schools across the sector, schools will have the freedom to adopt approaches best suited to their circumstances.
Manickchand cautioned that should schools fail to present plans and timetables for the completion of syllabi for students writing the CSEC and CAPE exams next year, the Ministry will get involved.
Many of the schools have opted to use a blended (virtual and face-to-face) approach to engage students. The Ministry of Education provided care packages for students, teachers, cleaners and dormitory staff. These packages include hand sanitizers, masks, face shields and a number of vitamins and tonics to keep immunity at a premium. Schools were closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.