NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Director of Education Marcellus Taylor said while recent power outages may have an impact on the delivery of education via virtual learning, the online platform remains more effective given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor’s comments come as some parents and teachers expressed concern over the stability of electricity as a wide cross-section of students and schools rely on virtual learning modules to facilitate classes.
In recent weeks, the power company has reported a series of sporadic outages on islands throughout the country, including an island-wide outage on New Providence on September 11.
Some schools have reported virtual lessons were impacted by the outages and advised students and parents to continue utilizing online resources as they work through the challenges.
In a recent interview with Eyewitness News, Taylor said: “We live in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and one of the realities we have, is we have blackouts and we have an Internet capacity which is whatever it is.
“These things will have some impact on the delivery of education.
“…We only could work within the confines of our reality. We do the best we can with the situation that we have.
“So, things like electricity, the [Internet] network, all these things are a public good, and the state invests in them because it understands that it helps everyone to operate.”
Taylor indicated that notwithstanding the government’s investment, there will be limitations.
“Education is also a public good, and while the state tries to invest as much as it can because the state is limited, there’s only so much it can do,” he said.
“So we have to do the best that we can with the resources.
“We are not fooling ourselves that this is going to be perfect, so that’s why we say to people, understand and appreciate the work we’re doing, but also understand and appreciate the limitations.”
The education director said while there may be some interruption outside of education officials’ control, operable virtual learning for 70 percent or 80 percent of the time is infinitely better than leaving students without education due to the ongoing pandemic.
“It’s not going to be smooth and it’s not going to be perfect, but It’s going to be good enough,” he added.
“But what we are providing in terms of the content, in terms of our ability to deliver whatever we can, we are going to give 100 percent in the effort and we believe that the product will be good.
“It’s just whether or not these other things will hold up and to the extent that they will hold up.”