Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Education, Health, People & Places » Home-based Learning Continues; BJAT, PSE and CXC Postponed Indefinitely
Mar 26, 2020

Home-based Learning Continues; BJAT, PSE and CXC Postponed Indefinitely

Schools across the country have closed due to COVID-19 as a way to enforce social distancing among the young.  It means that thousands of children are now at home and have to adapt to home-based learning.  Parents are finding ways to keep the children engaged and learning during school hours, while teachers are creating new online learning plans to keep them on track with school curriculum.  The Ministry of Education says it is encouraging students to take home textbooks so they can practice lessons. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

With thousands of students at home sticking to strict social distancing protocols during the existing coronavirus emergency, learning continues.  For the next few weeks, all levels of academic life have moved away from the classroom, a transition, for some, that was already in the offing.  From the confines of their homes, primary school children are engaged in distance learning; their daily tuition administered via an online platform.


Steven White

Steven White, Principal, St. Agnes School

“We meet as a staff and we created what is called a self-explanatory timetable for their parents, so that their parents can easily follow.  Most of the timetable has like, in the morning children will learn life skills with their parents, where they clear the table, prepare the table, have breakfast together and wash the dishes.  Then after that we go into a religion period where they are allowed to learn all the way up to the Easter Story, to the crucifixion of Jesus.  So that’s what we did right now for the timetable and then after that we either get into an English or a Math [course] and then in the afternoon we have like a Science.”


It’s a syllabus that keeps the students of St. Agnes School in La Democracia fully engaged.  While many of them have access to the internet, there are others in the far-flung reaches of the country that don’t have online access at their fingertips.


Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“The recommendation is to give them papers to take home to practice.  I can’t say it any simpler.  The Ministry of Education at the primary level also has a free textbook programme.  We also recommended that students could have taken home those textbooks and do practice work.  The idea is for them to practice and keep them meaningfully engaged.  And we’re also asking parents to bond with their children, to spend time with their children, to play games with them, teach them some life skills.  Teach them to cook, teach them to clean, but to engage them.”


Steven White, who has been with the Anglican school as its principal for the past two years, oversees the daily activities remotely.


Steven White

“The timetable is so simple that we send home most of the children with the government books and the page number that they can follow.  Children who were not given the government books were given the activity sheet that they can follow.  Apart from that, we created a WhatsApp group and in that WhatsApp group I monitor all the teachers’ WhatsApp groups, so we have a WhatsApp group up to Standard Five and we monitor what they put in.  For children who did not come to school, they can go in there and we take pictures of the books and we put it in there that they can see the page numbers that they can do daily.”


Admittedly, the COVID-19 crisis is nerve-racking for almost everyone.  Notwithstanding the very real threat of contracting the virus even outside of the classroom, some schools insist that students still sit tests and exams at home.


Dr. Carol Babb

“Parents are complaining that principals and teachers are giving them assessments and they must complete certain activities by a certain time and they are asking them to do online activities, to do tests and other activities.  In our memo, the memo coming from the Ministry of Education, we had recommended home-based learning, meaning that teachers were asked to give students a package so that they can practice at home, like maybe do some reading, some writing, some simple mathematics.  The objective of the home-based learning is to keep students meaningfully occupied.  We really do not expect that children should be given tests or exams at this time.”


So what will become of the planned national and regional exams, BJAT, PSE and CXC?


Dr. Carol Babb

“Everything is on hold until further notice.  We just had an online, a virtual meeting with CXC and as soon as we have finalized those recommendations we are going to share it with the general public but we need to first share it with our minister and the minister has to share it with the national committee.  So everything at this point in time is on hold.  At this point in time we don’t even know if there will be a BJAT or a P.S.E., everything is on hold until further notice.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed