Face-to-face learning anticipated for February
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday the ministry is reviewing new methods to aid students who were severely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they do not have to repeat the academic year.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Lloyd said schools on New Providence and Abaco are expected to resume some form of face-to-face learning by February.
The two islands have had to remain under nearly complete virtual learning protocols since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is our intention that we will resume some form of face-to-face, probably the hybrid model… But it’s all again contingent upon approval by the Ministry of Health,” Lloyd said.
“As soon as we are given the OK, we will begin the face-to-face in New Providence and Abaco.
“Our students are desperate; our teachers are anxious. We are very happy to begin this process, for the benefit of many students who learn best in that quality environment.”
Some 30,000 students are taught in the public school system on New Providence and Abaco.
Lloyd assured that students will not be disadvantaged due to the challenges caused by the pandemic.
“We are going to make sure every effort is made available to those students who would have anyway been deprived,” he said.
“Repetition is the last resort. We don’t want to consider that. We believe other methodologies which are now being considered by the Ministry of Education will suffice in remedying whatever shortfall those students may have suffered.”
The national examinations were postponed multiple times after the country saw a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases.
While there were fewer students who took the exams this year, due to the challenges presented by the pandemic, Lloyd said he “very satisfied” with the results of the exams, which are expected to be released today.
“When we look at the results, of those who did take the exam, we feel very satisfied, all things considered, with the performance of our students this year,” he said.
“…It has been a difficult year and a half, beginning with Dorian in September 2019.”
The education minister advised that preparations are being made to ensure national examinations can be administered on time this academic year.