Ministry of Education exploring assistance for children impacted by prolonged use of virtual learning

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By: Kathryn Campbell/Bahamas Information Services

The Ministry of Education & Technical and Vocational Training is seeking to develop effective remediating responses to children impacted by prolonged reliance on virtual learning and no formal instruction for some two years.

The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin Minister, in a 2021-2022 Mid-term Budget Presentation to the House of Assembly, Wednesday, March 16, said with the assistance of University of The Bahamas and the Ministry of Finance, a Request for Proposal has been developed and will be published within the next few days. She said proposals will be submitted for a platform for a remediation programme and diagnostics.

“Just from the anecdotal reports I am receiving, the impact is severe in many instances affecting even hand-eye coordination of young children and their ability to hold a pencil properly,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.

“The main objective of this consultancy is the implementation of the assignment, which is necessary due to the very large number of students in the public sector who have been disadvantaged by not participating in the virtual lessons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the suspension of in person lessons in The Bahamas and across the world community.”

Minister Hanna-Martin told Parliamentarians that the Ministry will be addressing the loss experienced by students who have participated in virtual lessons, but cannot function well on a virtual platform and require in-person lessons. “In both instances all indications are that these students have suffered tremendous learning loss, a loss which requires urgent remediation to bring about learning recovery,” she added.

Moreover, Minister Hanna-Martin informed the House that the Ministry intends to close the learning gaps and recover learning loss by students attending public schools throughout the nation through the following: assessment of students, training of teachers and implementation of intervention/acceleration plans.

“For those young people who over the last two years have been absent from school or who struggled on the virtual platform the reality we must face is that many will not be returning to high school.

“We must therefore purposefully and deliberately coordinate across intergovernmental agencies and various ministries and in collaboration with NGO’s, to develop focused responses to avoid duplications and unaddressed gaps, to bolster literacy and numeracy skills, and other skills to allow these young people to build esteem and confidence, pursue employment opportunities or create paths to higher learning.”