One Sided JSC Coverage
In the coverage of the responses given at a Joint Select Committee meeting held on Friday 5th June, 2020 on the “Ministry of Education’s strategies for ensuring continuity in the delivery of education amid the Covid-19 pandemic”, one daily newspaper chose to heavily emphasise the critiques of one person on the committee and highlight two others that had some concerns, while completely ignoring what was said by the majority. During the discussions all of the organisations in attendance represented the core stakeholders within the education system. Many outlined the continued interactions that have happened since the closure of schools and how together, both parties have been working for the benefit of the children of Trinidad and Tobago.
As it stood globally, the sudden impact of Covid-19 crippled education systems worldwide. Trinidad and Tobago had to quickly figure out how education delivery could be continued while recognising that “normal” was now non-existent. Through consultation and collaboration, the Ministry was able to allow access to digital platforms for teaching and learning. The Ministry of Education has been transparent with the public from the onset of this pandemic in highlighting the various challenges that digital learning presents. What has happened as a result, is that many stakeholders and good Samaritans have stepped up and offered services that have benefitted students on a national level. It is imperative for all citizens now to understand that the government of this country continues to emphasize the importance of education for all and now more than ever, focus must be placed on solutions rather than disagreements and baseless complaints.
Highlighted criticisms included a “belief” that close to 90,000 students did not have devices, a lack of teacher training, and social support not being provided to parents resulting in education being side-lined. While on the one hand a group has chosen to complain, on the other Boards and Associations have engaged in teacher training, provision of devices/connectivity and in some instances offered social support with the understanding that this is an unprecedented situation and it calls for all persons to do his/her part as far as possible.
As the country approaches what would have been the end of an academic year, Covid-19 has allowed much needed discussions to happen at every level of the education system. It goes without saying that not everyone will be pleased with what has happened, however the goal is to provide access, quality, equity and good governance in all schools and school environments for our students. The Ministry of Education will continue to engage all stakeholders on the way forward and together, the concerns and challenges of today will be what inform the policies and changes of tomorrow.