No date has yet been set as to when schools on the island will reopen, Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, the Minister Of Education, said today.
She also suggested that the 11-Plus exam might be postponed further than the proposed June timeline.
While the Trinity term was scheduled to begin on April 16, schools have remained closed as part of restrictions enforced by Government to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Bradshaw, who is also Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, said the reopening of schools would hinge on the prevalence of COVID-19 on the island.
She pointed out, however, that the Ministry had used the time to train 80 per cent of teachers in utilizing technology to assist students.
“On the matter of education and more specifically the resumption of formal teaching or learning in the primary and secondary schools, Barbadians are being asked to note that while there have been extensive discussions with the various stakeholders all last week the situation is still relatively fluid to make it unwise to stipulate a precise start date for the new term.
“Already though, some of our teachers in consultation with their principals and other stakeholders have begun using the available online resources and technology to better familiarize themselves and their students with the technology and environment and they will be using this obviously to a greater extent in the future,” Bradshaw assured.
“Our aim is to have this emergency response mechanism in terms of our technology rolled out in all schools once the circumstances permit.”
She said during the familiarization period, teachers would not introduce new concepts but would rather reinforce subjects taught in Terms 1 and 2.
Bradshaw revealed the Ministry was also working with various service providers to ensure that houses were equipped with electricity and the internet, as well as the necessary equipment to allow children to utilize the online initiatives.
She lauded the organizations which had already come forward and offered to assist with donations of equipment.
Bradshaw said the 11-Plus might have to be pushed back even further to September.
“We initially said we would postpone until the end of June but that is still subject to review obviously after May 4 and those discussions are ongoing with the various stakeholders.
“It may very well be that we may have to postpone the exam beyond the June period but at this stage, it is still a bit early to say with any degree of certainty,” the Acting PM said.
She also said while CXC had recommended that students set the regional exam between June and July, those dates might also have to be adjusted to September depending on the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
She said it was important that no student preparing for either CXC or the 11-Plus was disadvantaged.