What is the plan for teaching?



Students in formation four from Queen’s Royal College return home after face-to-face lessons in Port of Spain on October 14. Vaccinated forms of one to three students are due to return to school soon. Photo by Roger Jacob –

On Tuesday, the Minister of Education met with TTUTA officials about the plan to bring first to third grade students back to class.

A government statement about the meeting noted that “comments were received on the difficulties some schools face in submitting Forms 1 to 3 online and physically submitting Forms 4 to 6”.

It’s unclear exactly how this challenge will be resolved, but TTUTA has called on the Department of Education to engage in one or the other.

TTUTA President Antonia De Freitas told Newsday on Friday that the association had not received a clear answer.

Teachers find it difficult to teach online and physical classes simultaneously, trying to provide education to vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

According to De Frietas, the association fears that the reopening of the school for classes one to three will no longer result in inequity for the students.

Prior to the start of face-to-face classes on October 1, TTUTA raised concerns about the infrastructure and organization of the classroom. The education ministry, De Frietas said, was dealing with the issue one step at a time.

TTUTA also called for discussions with the Director of Personnel on terms and conditions for teachers in a demanding and rapidly changing educational environment.

Last week’s meeting was a step forward in addressing TTUTA’s ongoing complaints about inadequate consultations, which led to a two-day strike in the past fortnight.

Dr Gadsby-Dolly needs to recognize TTUTA’s concerns more fully and be better prepared to consult on strategy to manage the potential for a greater educational gap to develop between vaccinated and classroom students and those who are not vaccinated and at home.

On Friday, the Minister of Education congratulated the CSEC and CAPE students for their performance on the CXC exams.

CXC Director of Operations Dr Nicole Manning announced on Thursday that Guyana led the exams with an 80% pass rate in integrated mathematics and a 69% pass rate in integrated science.

Guyana also dominated the region for human and social biology and information technology.

But the CXC’s general report also noted the highest number of absenteeism among candidates for both exams in four years.

Excluding postponements, 8.3 percent of students did not sit for the CAPE exams and 11.23 percent were absent for the CSEC.

Dr Gadsby-Dolly pledged his own breakdown of TT’s performance on regional exams this week, and a clear and insightful analysis of the reality of his ministry’s exam results could guide a more effective education strategy.

The Department of Education cannot plan one step or one day at a time, it must demonstrate strategic foresight and accountability planning that recognizes pandemic realities.

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