The Ministry of Education will not be lenient with students who are absent from online or face-to-face classes without a valid excuse when schools reopen next week.
This was the message from Education Minister Santia Bradshaw after marathon talks with parents at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex that included Minister of People Empowerment Cynthia Forde and Chief Environmental Officer Ronald Chapman.
Bradshaw acknowledged that some parents are hindered by financial difficulties, working parents are struggling to supervise online instruction, and others are simply skeptical about safety in the Covid-19 environment. She however stressed that next week’s restart is moving full steam ahead, and such concerns should be directed to the ministry.
“We cannot have children not attending schools because parents don’t want them to go, and therefore that communication needs to take place at all levels to ensure that children get an opportunity to be in school as much as possible,” Bradshaw told parents after the talks.
“They have simply lost too much time, and I really would appeal to parents to ensure . . . that if there are challenges with economic hardship or issues with transportation, the Ministry of Education is made aware so that certainly between ourselves and the ministry responsible for welfare, we are able to put the mechanisms in place to get children to school,” she added.
Government’s blended approach to learning will see some students receiving online instruction for as many as three days a week.
According to Bradshaw, parents have been expressing concern about rigid employers who are unwilling to allow them to work remotely while their children are receiving instruction from home.
She, therefore, urged employers to be more accommodating.
“I think it is an acceptance of where we are as a society. Sometimes you get more out of people where you give them that flexibility as opposed to trying to be very rigid.
“I think we have seen with COVID people being able to work from home and complete simple tasks, and that is the way the world is going,” the Education Minister added.
During her media briefing, Bradshaw revealed that vending protocols at schools across the country would be altered to prevent bunching around schools. She however stressed that the Ministry has no intention of stopping vendors from plying their trade.