Education Minister Jeff Lloyd speaks in the House of Assembly.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ABOUT 40,000 students have registered for the Ministry of Education’s virtual learning programme, according to Education Minister Jeff Lloyd.
Noting nearly 20,000 students have been accessing the online platform daily, Mr Lloyd said officials are hopeful more students will register in the coming days.
“We’re now at approximately 40,000 (students who have registered) the majority of whom are public school students, but we are getting more and more requests by private school students who seek to participate for one reason or another,” he told reporters.
“So, 40,000 out of 65,000, I am not necessarily ecstatic about it but it’s progress and we’re happy that more and more students are utilising the virtual platform.
“We have about maybe 1,200 that attend the live sessions each day (and) we are approaching 20,000 that access the system every day.”
The programme was established after the government announced the closure of schools last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic
It allows students of all grade levels to have access to various learning materials while at home.
Saying the “school system” had lost enough time as a result of Hurricane Dorian, Mr Lloyd told the House of Assembly last month that his ministry was committed to ensuring that students continue their education during this health crisis.
However, it is still not clear when national examinations will be held in the country, with Mr Lloyd telling reporters: “No, I can’t say.”
He added: “The end of the terms exams are coming. The BGCSE exams are eventually coming. We don’t know when and in order to be ready for them, you have to continue with your studies, so I appeal to parents to please ensure that their children are continuing with their education.”
As it relates to those students who do not have access to the internet, the minister also advised them to be consistent in watching the live educational broadcasts on cable TV.
“As you know, we have now made available channel 295,” he noted.
“That is available in the Family Islands as channel 12 so that those students who do not have a device or who do not have the internet still are able to access it but please bear in mind that we have a number of students maybe about 10,000 who do not have devices.
“We know about 5,000 that is and we are working very diligently, quickly to get devices for them as quickly as possible.”
Recognising that many students are also not accessing the online platform due to work obligations, such as packing boys in food stores, Mr Lloyd said officials have also asked grocery store owners “to resist scheduling students (to work) during the hours when they should be in school.”
“You know the responsibility of education of our children resides in any number of stakeholders — of course the government, the teachers and so on, but it’s the parents,” he stressed.
“I understand in these times of economic uncertainty and some deprivation on a financial standpoint, you have to try to make it as best we can but at the same time, those children need to continue with their education because the end of term exams are coming.
“There’s the virtual platform. It’s available 24 hours of the day and yes, we have asked those food store owners to resist scheduling students during the hours when they should be in school.”