The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports continues to support students and teachers during the closure of schools which started on March 13 2020. Educational Institutions will remain closed until May 1st and manage operations thereafter within the guidelines presented by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. This is a challenging but needed decision to manage the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Best efforts are in place to maintain basic education through variety of e-learning platforms, social media and printed resources. This will continue into the next phase of island shutdown.
Thank you to the students, parents and educational partners who have assisted in the maintenance of operations to date, and the support given to ensure the engagement of our future generation.
The government primary schools will once again prepare printed packages for student education over the next shutdown cycle. These are now ready for collection. Parents allowed to traverse today (Wednesday April 22) are asked to pick up packages from Lookout Primary School or Brades Primary School between 9am and 3pm. The other packages will be delivered to the homes of children, over the next two-days. Teachers will continue to support through classroom WhatsApp Groups and e-learning platforms.
The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports endorses the use of ‘Flow One on One’ to support the instruction of students for CSEC and CAPE. The platform https://flowstudy.co/ is now free to students, teachers and lecturers. The platform includes modules, videos and learning content for CSEC & CAPE. Future updates will include content for Primary School. Another resource for Secondary School students is the OECS Learning Hub through Notesmaster, https://notesmaster.com/. Efforts are also being supported to enhance training for teachers to increase the quality of e-learning through a partnership with UWI Open Campus.
The Ministry recognizes that there are some challenges with access to Wi-Fi and appropriate hardware for online delivery. Projects and initiatives are underway to address these gaps and ensure accessibility is increased for all students. This includes the re-establishment of a revised laptop project for vulnerable students in need.
Implication for Assessment
The Ministry continues to monitor the positon of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) regarding the delivery of the regional exams. It has been decided that the island will not participate in this year’s Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) exam. A local assessment will be used to evaluate student performance and define placement upon progression of Grade 6 students to the Montserrat Secondary School. In addition, there will be no separate levelling evaluation at MSS as the Ministry moves to streamline assessment and evaluation process of students on island.
The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) March 26, 2020 press release advised of the intention to adjust the format, schedule and delivery medium of the annual exam. The Ministry does not support the proposal and is keen to discuss an option which follows the advice of local healthcare specialists, and reflects the current ICT infrastructure on island for examination.
The Ministry will continue to liaise with CXC regarding the exams.
Transition to Re-Opening
The Ministry is making preparation for the reopening of schools after the lockdown—this includes consideration for student and teacher safety.
The Ministry of Education expresses its appreciation to all stakeholders who have assisted with continued education during this pandemic. All are encouraged to adhere to the advice and directive by the Government of Montserrat and the Ministry of Health and Social Services team.
Remember: Let us all contain the spread of COVID-19, we are all in this together.