By Shena Henry
The Ministry of Education on Monday, March 1, 2021, launched virtual reinforcement lessons for schools in the hinterland.
With Ministry officials, teachers, headteachers, parents and students from hinterland regions present, eight tutors responsible for the reinforcement of the lessons were placed in the four main subject areas – Mathematics, English Language, Science and Social Studies.
Two tutors were placed in each subject area.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, explained that the launch was part of the Ministry’s efforts to equalize education across the country.
“We’re going to try to plug the gaps that we know exist; we’re going to stop talking about it and we’re going to do it and we have already begun to make strides.
“Education is not something you see results in immediately; it’s a process,” the Minister said.
She also said that a measure the Ministry took in attempting to close the gap was appointing a new Deputy Chief Education Officer of Indigenous roots, whose origin is in the hinterlands.
“It means something that the person who heads that department has a very close understanding of what the challenges in the hinterland are. So who better than a teacher who came out of the hinterland? A parent who came out of the hinterland, an education officer who came out of the hinterland, and that is Marti De Souza (Newly appointed Deputy Chief Education Officer),” the Minister said.
Additionally, Manickchand added that the Ministry plans to train teachers across the country online as well as purchase textbooks as there is an evident deficit.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Dr Marcel Hutson, said that the launch of the programme speaks to the seriousness of the Ministry when it comes to delivering education.
“What we’ve seen here today is an attempt to really narrow those gaps that existed between the coast and the hinterland – gaps that existed in terms of the performance of schools on the coast and in the hinterlands. We know for a fact that we had issues with teacher shortage in terms of quality teachers in the hinterland communities that would’ve affected our performance in those communities- but we have been working assiduously to fix that,” he said.
The CEO further explained that there have been gaps in terms of transportation based on the geography of the land, thus, giving students difficulty to access education.
He said that the issues of teacher shortage and access to transportation will be addressed which will result in greater levels of preparedness for examinations.
“Some 15 schools will benefit from this program and over 200 children will also benefit. This is just the beginning and I’m sure that as we continue to get our footing stronger on this matter, we will see this kind of program rolled out in a stronger way across the entire country,” Hutson said.