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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)
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The impact of the school time lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosive eruption of La Soufriere would be felt about a decade from now.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says it is important that the nation’s students return to the classroom as soon as possible, adding that by the middle of this century, the lot of the nation’s 40-year-olds would be significantly affected by what is taking place today.

“We need to get those schools back up and running soonest. In the year 2050, which is 29 years from now, the child who is going to do the CPEA at 11-plus, he or she would be 40, 41 years old. If they do not have skills, they are not going to properly survive in 2050,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said that these citizens’ lot would be “very low incomes, there will be normlessness, there would be problems with their lives and their living, and in order to develop skills, you must have a sound, basic education and a lot of things which we do now ourselves with our hands and our brains, in 2050, it is happening already, that machines are going to these jobs.”

He said that the nation is already “seeing the problems of those who have missed out on the education evolution.

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“I am talking directly into the hearts and minds of the parents who love their children.”

Face-to-face classes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are yet to resume this year, as a spike in COVID-19 cases last December forced the closure of school after the Christmas break.

Students were scheduled to return to the physical classroom on April 12 but the explosive eruption of the volcano has placed that on hold, as many of the nation’s schools were used as emergency shelters.

As of last Sunday, June 13, 61 shelters remained active with 2,169 occupants — down from about 7,000 displaced people at the peak.

The government is yet to give the all-clear for persons from the Orange Zone communities of Chateaubelair and Fitz Hughes in the north-west to return to their home.

Also, no all-clear has been given for communities north of the Rabacca Dry River in north-eastern St. Vincent.

Gonsalves told a press conference on Tuesday that there is anxiety for people to get back home but that the government is not chasing persons from shelters.

“There is a multiplicity of issues, some of them in contradiction to one another, because the situation is complex,” the prime minister said.

“For instance, you want to get the schools repaired, and some of the schools … a lot of work [is] to be done on them. And it would be a good idea to get the persons out as soon as practicable.

“But at the same time, the last thing this government, certainly I, want to see happening, is men women and children outside of the shelter and they don’t have anywhere to go. And let us understand this:

“You see this problem which we have been having since last year with education, educating our children because of COVID and now the volcano making it worse, you are not going to see the real consequence of this until seven, 10 years down the road.”

The prime minister expressed fears that some students will not return to school.

“You have their education interrupted, they are going to suffer and the persons who are going to suffer most are the children of the poor, the working people, the peasantry, single parents, particularly mothers who don’t have a supportive male figure in the home…”

He said that for many of these women who are the sole breadwinner, the actual classroom “provides a structure for them to be supported in a number of ways.

“This is apart from the question of the learning which they undergo,” the prime minister said.

Gonsalves said that as the leader of the country he can give “the benefit of my knowledge, my understanding, and apply my heart to wisdom.

“You may choose, for whatever reason, that you don’t want to listen, but you can’t say I’m not saying it.”

5 replies on “True impact of lost school time will be seen in 10 years — PM”

  1. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    Fortunately in ten years time this 300lb slob will be buried or burnt then the real history can be published.

  2. I can understand the lamentations of the PM, in relation to children being at a grave disadvantage in ten years’ time. However, one has to be careful returning to face to face teaching too soon. We saw increases in Covid numbers at Learning Hubs.
    My humble suggestion to help out the situation is for the Ministry of Education to use certain educators to do videos showing teachers teaching various subjects based on the Curriculum of the various grades of Primary and
    Secondary Schools. Make the lessons exciting as much as they can. The TV Station can be asked to show these videos at various times of the day. Urge parents strongly to let their children view these programs. If possible, the parents or older siblings can ensure that younger siblings view the programs, while older siblings view programs designed for them too. The videos can be made available online as well that children can have access to them at any time, since the TV Station will not be able to cater for all age students at the same time, plus lessons for various classes – Primary and Secondary, vary in length. Make videos with the teaching of Reading too, thus helping children to learn to read.
    I do hope that the above suggestions are followed which will help out with the present educational crisis.

  3. Duke DeArment says:

    This is obviously going to turn into a pitch for FORCED VACCINATIONS.
    It does not matter that STATISTICALLY SPEAKING Covid deaths of people under the age of 19 is ZERO. I believe there is no incidence on planet Earth where Covid-19 has ever spread in a school, but…here we are!

    More children died this year from diarrhoea than Covid but they do not close the school from viruses that cause it. More children die in car accidents, etc…the list goes on and on but…the world is under the madness and fear of Covid-19 and the battle over which countries or businesses accept which vaccines. For example: If you took Astra Z you are not allowed in a Bruce Springsteen concert, even though the Oxford Vaccine is also Sponsored by the same Billionaire. Apparently Sputnik-V will not be accepted in most EU Countries. We are not only seeing Fake News and Fake Science but the best political agendas money can buy. Don’t worry, the billionaires are making so much money right now, they can afford it.

  4. Fist ,there was the normal education system which served well the generation that produced citizens that joined the ranks of higher society .

    Then came the re volution to that education system resulting in the slogan “you need not fear competition ,because pass or fail ,you are going ‘somewhere’
    Promotion without passing.the exams

    Added to that ,we have the evolution of education .Everything must change and be reshaped.amidst the pandemic and the eruption of the La Soufreire.

    Now we have to let education “re evolved ”

    Rewind to teaching survival skills : conflict resolution,decision-making, time management, Home Economics, Family Life and child bearing,rearing and caring and above all Spiritual Education
    A new curriculum is needed to cater for the need of the students ,parents ,and civil society. In this curriculum an entire unit should be devoted to the emotional developmental needs of the youngest citizens of the nation- the children.

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