By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Ministry of Education held its Opening Ceremony of the New School Year 2020-21 at the Antioch Baptist Church and virtually via YouTube on Monday (September 7).
During the ceremony, several individuals gave platitudes about the opportunity the COVID-19 pandemic and these unprecedented times have gifted the Ministry in providing for the advancement and innovation of the way education is done in the federation.
The adaptability of teachers within the education system
Dr. Debbie Isaac, Chief Educational Officer for the Ministry of Education addressed being ushered into a new normal in regards to the functionality of the Department of Education, which includes interactions within the digital space. The grand opening which usually seats over 600 teachers was now a virtual experience.
“This school year will be marked with many adjustments as we seek to adapt to the new normal. Change is inevitable, but when we’re able to embrace change we become more resilient and more productive.”
Dr. Isaac reminded the listening audience that students will have to resist the urge to act as they once did due to the physical distancing protocols and the wearing of masks as a new addition to the school uniforms and the adoption of these protocols into every teacher’s classroom operations.
Later, she mentioned a key message the department is working towards embracing as this new school year commences.
“As we embark upon the new school year we seek to get all reflecting and embracing a key message. This year’s key message is ‘whatever my mind can conceive and believe, I can achieve.’”
Several speakers made mention of the blended approach to teaching and learning that has been adopted by the ministry involves a mix of in-person instruction as well as virtual instruction via Microsoft Teams, the chosen virtual platform.
William Hodge, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education in his remarks spoke about the distribution of learning packets, the 1800 tablets that were distributed to students along with the over 200 homes that were provided with internet service as well as the necessary training for teachers in traversing the digital sphere as a new tool for learning.
Hodge highlighted the need for adults/teachers to hold themselves accountable concerning the already established COVID-19 practices during daily life.