(PRESS RELEASE) – As countries around the world adjust to a new normal with social distancing and self quarantines, the Education Ministries of the Member States of the OECS in collaboration with the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) and the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme (ELP) are activating programmes to support students while at home. Despite short notice of school closures in some countries, principals and teachers have been able to put packages together for students to be appropriately engaged while at home.
With various technology options available to teachers, students, parents, and caregivers several internet-based programmes have been initiated for students to continue components of their curriculum while at home. Programmes such as Edmodo, Google Classroom, Digicel Learning, FLOW Study and others are being utilized to post subject instruction and project work by teachers for students and parents to access at home. Countries have, by necessity, had to get creative by obtaining support from the media houses to share information and carry out teaching sessions live on various public and social platforms. Media houses in Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Kitts and Nevis have been providing airtime for classroom content – enabling teachers to record instructional videos in various subject areas for airing at specific times during the day.
WhatsApp is being used more and more by teachers to communicate with parents throughout the school year to provide information and tips. Many teachers who had not previously had social media communication with parents are now creating WhatsApp parent groups and using it as a medium to share information and support parents with their children’s learning while at home during this unprecedented time.
For the students who do not have access to the internet or computers at home, the teachers in all Member States have made best efforts to print materials and provide these students with physical packages to continue work while at home. Additionally, ‘storytime’ to support reading and listening at home, are being rolled out on television and radio stations across the region.
Reading Specialist within the OECS/USAID ELP, Lisa Terrance -Sargusingh stated that
“The EDMU continues to work alongside all Member State Ministries of Education to facilitate the continued education process at home, and to provide support for our early learners, their teachers and parents during school closures. Additionally, the OECS/USAID ELP team has implemented an aggressive campaign on social and traditional media platforms to showcase to families how they can engage children in their homes.”