By Concerned Parent
I am writing as a concerned parent who has sons, nieces and nephews in different secondary schools throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I have a son in Grammar School, a niece at Girls High School and my stepson at St. Martin’s Secondary — all in Form 5. Seeing that we are in the COVID-19 pandemic one of the burning questions that was on my mind was, “What about the continuity of the children’s education?”
Having a bit of information technology knowledge, I must say congratulations to St. Martin’s Secondary School for being one of the — if not the only–secondary schools to have successfully moved their classrooms online. I did not know that they had such an ambitious project being developed.
I was shocked when I heard my stepson answering to his teacher on his computer in the living room about 8:20 a.m. I had to inquire more about what he was doing. St. Martin’s Secondary is currently operating at a university level because what they are doing is exactly the manner in which I was taught at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.
My stepson proceeded to show me his holiday timetable with hourly teaching slots of different subject areas that took effect from the first day they were sent home. He has a 15-minute break and an hour lunch just like a regular day at school. After seeing what he is doing I have to wonder what is happening in the other schools?
From observing how the sessions are being conducted, I noticed that a teacher is present, as are the other students and also the principal was present in his online class.
The classroom teacher informed him that they (including the principal) could check on their work, grades, assignments and attendances.
On the other hand, from my inquiries, the other students are at home with links to visit websites that are unmonitored and without proper guidance. I know that some would say that St. Martin’s Secondary is semi-private or private and would state that they have money to have such a tool at their disposal. Nevertheless the questions I have are:
● What are the schools, or, for that matter, the Ministry of Education, doing other than referring to various web pages?
● What are the plans that they have in place?
● Do they have a plan on how long before the other schools are up to St. Martin’s Secondary Level?
I don’t want the teachers at St. Martin’s to be upset but when your sessions start, everyone is ready. My son, stepson and my niece sit there with your class being displayed on the television. I would like to say thank you to the principal and staff of St. Martin’s Secondary for leading the way and being there for our children’s educational needs during this time of uncertainty. I do hope that the powers that be can use you as an example to get their institution on board the technology bandwagon.
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