(PRESS RELEASE) – Decision makers and key players in the area of education in the Eastern Caribbean held the first session of a series of virtual meetings on March 17, 2020 to discuss a Regional Education Sector’s Response Plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.
OECS Ministers of Education, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Education Officers and Directors, along with the Registrar of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and the Managing Director of the online learning platform Notesmaster attended the virtual meeting held last week.
In the main, the participants agreed to take measures as follows:
-transitioning schools to online learning and ensuring the access of teachers and students to the necessary equipment, infrastructure and technologies;
-exploring Public Private Partnerships to ensure the strengthening of necessary systems for virtual learning;
-envisioning the best options to facilitate pending regional and national student assessments and exams;
-exploring the possible repatriation of students stationed at dorms across the campuses of the University of the West —–Indies (UWI) which closed after the COVID-19 outbreak; and
-seeking alternative arrangements through the locations of UWI Open Campuses in the OECS Member States to facilitate tertiary level exams;
The Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules outlined the coordinated efforts of the Member States to ensure the continuity of student learning and to reduce the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector in the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Jules also highlighted the collaboration with Notemaster:
“We are pleased that Notesmaster offers their free online learning platform along with training for principals and teachers on how to use this tool. While this is being explored, it is important that the region pays close attention to the digital divide to ensure that all students are able to benefit from these interventions.” Dr. Jules commented.
The education officials agreed to subsequent virtual meetings with regards to a continued regional response and to update the general public on the strategies which will be put in place as the situation evolves. These efforts to support educators, students and their families are most welcome.