Published On: Mon, Aug 17th, 2020

Distance learning or no learning

In St. Maarten, the pandemic has made life very difficult for schools, teachers, and students. The choice is a familiar one by now. We must choose between safety for our children first and convenience. Or inconvenience, however you want to look at the options.

Streaming live online classes into the homes of children until life is normalized will be a major challenge for parents of younger students. They are not old enough to go unsupervised. For the schools, the challenges are enormous. The Ministry of Education has produced an Education Continuity Plan, ECP, consisting of many pages outlining procedures for the reopening of schools on St. Maarten, whether fully online or blended.

The challenges, troubles, and issues for parents are piling up. One school is already pleading with the Minister of Education to issue clear guidelines as to the opening of schools for only distance learning in the form of a ministerial decree so that they can have a foot to stand on when it comes to dealing with the parents of their students.

Although to some, the approach to reopening schools remains confusing, whatever challenges schools will be faced with going forward with distance learning in a COVID-19 pandemic period, one thing is certain, this period presents a chance for the Ministry of Education and the school boards to come up with long-needed actions to overhaul our education system and bring it up to par with modern technologies, online learning capabilities and human adaptations that are more in sync with the needs of society in general and the workforce demands in particular.

Related article: Minister of Education Drs. Rodolphe Samuel’s approach to reopening schools

Earning Limited

Private schools such as Learning Unlimited may be facing issues as their earnings through onsite education become limited by the distance learning measures the Minister of Education is asking them to implement. However, in the end, it is a matter of distance learning or no learning if students and staff begin to get sick with the virus. That is the situation that the Minister of Education is trying desperately to avoid.

Like we have said before, COVID-19 is the great reset button. This is also the case for education in our country. However painful the process may be, COVID-19 is also a chance to set things right by embracing long-needed modernization in the field of education.

Related article: Minister Samuel urges schools to do distance learning