Last weekend the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand visited Baramita, Matthews Ridge, Port Kaituma, Mabaruma and Moruca in Region One (Barima- Waini). Accompanied by the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Chief Planning Officer (CPO) Nicola Johnson and Sarah Browne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Minister Manickchand also visited Imbaimadai, Kamarang, Paruima, Kaikan and Bartica in Region Seven, Cuyuni- Mazaruni.
During discussions with residents, parents, students and other community members, the Education Minister explained what the Ministry of Education is currently doing to ensure learning continues and keeping children engaged during this time. She told the residents that because the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the education sector, learning has to be done differently since schools are not yet cleared for physical re-opening.
It was in this context that the Education Minister explained that in addition to online teaching , the Learning Channel will be used for delivering daily lessons to students across all levels and grades. In addition, residents were encouraged to tune into their community radio stations for the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme and also the Broadcast to Schools.
Noting the peculiar situation that is confronting the nation, Minister Manickchand said that a blended approach to learning has been adopted by the MoE and therefore communities that have challenges with internet connectivity and non-access to the Guyana Learning Channel will be engaged differently.
It is towards this end that the Education Minister assured that all of the nation’s children will be meaningfully engaged irrespective of where they are located. During these visits she distributed worksheets and other printed learning resources for students in the two regions. The other hinterland regions are currently receiving their batch.
Residents also shared concerns and suggestions with the Minister of Education who assured them that these will be addressed. She said that there is no better situation than teachers and students having face-to-face interaction but this is not possible at this time. Notwithstanding that, Minister Manickchand said that the focus of her Ministry is to ensure that there is minimal learning loss to students and no effort will be overlooked by the MoE to ensure that this is realised. The hinterland students now have worksheets for the next month and additional materials are currently being prepared to ensure students both in the hinterland and other communities are continuously engaged until schools reopen.
The worksheets cover work the students would have been doing had they been in the classroom and are for the nursery, primary and secondary levels.