St Lucia: St Lucian Education Minister – Shawn Edward would provide 4000 laptops among the students to improve their learning experience.
These devices would be distributed among the students of form one and form two students first. The Minister informed that there are other initiatives up to secure devices for primary school students as well.
Education Minister cited that, “Unfortunately there are hundreds of students in our school system who do not own a tablet/ laptop/computer or internet connection.”
“This situation of the students not having devices to take advantage of the virtual learning platform concerns me tremendously as a minister, & I have caused it to be the subject of very strong discussions amongst education administrators & my cabinet colleagues,” he further added.
The education minister noted that without making any delay and seeing the current situation of the students, Prime Minister Philip J Pierre gave permission to provide them with laptops as soon as possible.
Despite this, while addressing the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the schools and education system, Edward noted that the spike in the daily coronavirus infections forced the Ministry to review their plans, leaving them with no choice to resort to the distributed learning modality.
Following the statement, he asserted, “As our nation gear up for the commencement of the 2021-2022 academic year, we are once again faced with the challenges brought on by the deadliest COVID-19 pandemic.”
Edward also informed that as per the initial plan of the Education Ministry, it was decided to have a full-fledged reopening of schools where teachers, students and ancillary staff would all report to the various school buildings for classes and other school-related activities.
He noted that face-to-face classes would be reopened when the COVID-19 situation in the country improves as the government cannot afford to take the risk and put the life of its citizens in danger.
He also emphasized that students will not be left behind, and the current situation will not get their study into loss, adding, “The COVID-19 has taken a toll on us as a society & our children have not been spared or exempted. We will ensure that the necessary support mechanisms are in place to help students recover socially emotionally and academically.”