The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed persons from around the world to transition to online commerce, online learning, online meetings, and other virtual engagements. Health officials are currently preparing for the second wave of COVID -19 but what are the decision-makers in the education sector doing to move away from the traditional classroom setting to online schooling. According to Education Minister Patrick Faber, they have begun the discussion.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture: “You know that we have already started on the journey for digital platforms to be used in education in this country, albeit a slow pace. One of the issues we discussed with the Digi folks yesterday was how we can ramp it up but of course the finances are a big issue but it has to be at the forefront of what we do. You will hear that our teachers are engaged, I think there are over 2,000 of our teachers who are engaged now in CPD workshops that are online hopefully engaging them in manners which will improve their ability to do this kind of teaching and learning with our students and that is that way we’re forced to go. It’s not a matter of whether we want to go that way this is what has to come, we don’t know if this and other problems will continue in fact we always find ourselves in a quandary whether it’s a natural disaster, whether it’s a strike, whether it’s a health disaster with what is upon us now but distance learning and learning digitally is something we certainly have to look toward and it’s the way the students learn now. This is their normal the rest of the world now has to catch up and the rest of Belize has to catch up because our students are ready to engage in this manner.”
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News:But what urgency are the officials putting to this because when I spoke to Dr.Manzanero he says that we don’t know when the second wave is coming it’s inevitable and it might just hit just when the new academic year is about to begin so I ask what urgency are the officials putting on that transitioning to online schooling ?
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture: “Well you’ve heard me talk about some of that just now the whitewashing of certain sites which would including the Ministry of Education’s site major part of the problem is right now we have to be getting the physical prints out to our students across the country. By the way a new edition of those prints are now out; 30,000 copies are being distributed as we speak to the rest of the country. The Ministry’s website has original content created by our teachers at the various different levels, secondary schools are doing their thing as well but we also have the news print to back that up so this is already a very real thing but when we whitewash certain sites this means that in whenever they can get a phone signal you don’t need credit, if you have a phone which most people do many people do albeit some people would still not have it but you don’t really need a computer device, you don’t really need a mobile device table or a laptop you have access to get that information if the sites that have the information the materials for learning are zero rated or whitewashed as they call it then it is there for them to utilize.”