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Meal Vouchers For Students 'Who Depend On Schools For Their Meals'

Education Minister Jeff Lloyd speaks in the House of Assembly.

Education Minister Jeff Lloyd speaks in the House of Assembly.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

WITH schools now closed due to COVID-19 fears, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd said yesterday the Ministry will provide meal vouchers this month to students “who depend on schools for their meals.”

“Parents, educators and all stakeholders, I’m to advise Mr Speaker that there exists in our educational system some 4,200 plus students who depend on schools for their meals,” he said in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“As a consequence of school closure, those students are at significant risk. Therefore, beginning this month, the Ministry of Education will provide meal vouchers for students and invite parents to call and come to the school to collect such vouchers for their children.

“The ministry will engage the vendors who now provide lunch to the various school campuses on a rotational basis for this purpose.

“We’ve also provided a cellphone rather a toll number so that parents and others may call the ministry to secure additional information. That number is 300-2320 or 300-2319.”

Mr Lloyd’s comments came after he outlined the various initiatives the ministry will be adopting to ensure that students continue their studies at home while schools are closed.

“Mr Speaker, though teachers and students are away from campus at this time, it does not mean that they are away from their learning and teaching responsibilities,” he said.

One such responsibility is ensuring that students are well prepared for BJC/BGCSE exams.

Mr Lloyd said officials were currently engaged in discussions with Cambridge over the possible extension of national examinations in the country in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the circumstances that this situation has now imposed is how to deal with the exit exams which in some cases has already begun, where students have to submit their coursework,” he said.

“Ministry of Education leadership in collaboration with Cambridge, the examination company out of England, are working with the decision on the extension of examination timetable.

“This is now being finalised and I invite all persons to please pay very close attention to future announcement that will come forth in just a matter of days.”

But, in the meantime, Mr Lloyd urged parents and guardians to ensure that students remain focused on their academic studies “during this very critical time.”

“Mr Speaker, though teachers and students are away from campus at this time, it does not mean that they are away from their learning and teaching responsibilities,” he said.

“Parents, guardians and caregivers and administrators are asked to ensure that these students pay close attention to the webpage that is provided, the instruction materials that are provided and to understand the necessity of maintaining their academic focus during this very critical time.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the closure of schools in the country after health officials revealed that a 61-year-old woman tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since then, many local institutions have shifted to online classes, allowing for students to continue their studies at home.

Noting that “school system” has lost enough time as a result of Hurricane Dorian, Mr Lloyd said officials are committed to ensuring that students have access to various learning materials.

Distribution of learning materials, he added, will be facilitated through online resources.

“Our school system has already lost precious instruction and learning time due to hurricane Dorian,” he stressed yesterday.

“We cannot afford a single day further in loss educational time. Therefore, the following must be observed: teachers are to continue to engage students through the media groups that they have already established.

“If that has not been done, they are directed to report to school maintaining social distance, secure the register of their students while also securing useful educational material and to create such groups with the assistance of the school’s management director and the director of education.”

He said 1,650 students “who are now registered on our virtual school will continue to receive their instructions from teachers immediately.”

“Additionally, based on the plan developed by our technical team over the last two days on March 30, the live instruction will be provided by our teachers particularly for our twelfth graders.”

As it relates to pre-school and primary school students, the education minister also advised parents and guardians to use the online portal on ministry’s website to access educational information.

He also said applications for scholarships will also be extended from March 31 to April 30. 

Comments

joeblow 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I have two questions:

1) Why are people having children they cannot afford to feed?

2) Why does the working class always have to foot the bill when people fail to exercise personal responsibility?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 2 weeks ago

And why are the parents/children able to sell these vouchers on a discounted basis to others for cash thereby defeating the entire purpose of the program? The corrupt Minnis-led FNM government knows full well that we have an ever growing number of seriously addicted gamblers in our country who would rather give their money to criminal thugs like Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers than buy food for their hungry children. A large black market usually quickly develops for such voucher programs because government never does anything to prevent their abuse.

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