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Jan 11, 2021

Schools Reopen for Second Term of Distance Learning

It was back to school day today. And like all things in the pandemic era, today was very different. Secondary and tertiary schools resumed virtual classes why primary schools dissipated their first batch of learning packages. It is a continuation of the distance learning that began in the last term. How have all parties involved been faring off? News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Since the start of the 2020 school year, children have been engaged in distance learning. In some cases, classes have been held virtually, and parents have been more involved in the education of their children. Every week, learning packages with a weeks worth of material in various subject areas are worked on by teachers and would later be picked up by parents and taken home for children to do. It is submitted by the end of the week and graded. It was a move taken by the Ministry of Education as the learning gap increased because between March and June of 2020, students were out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Yolanda Gongora

Yolanda Gongora, Chief Education Officer

“In the system, we always have to find different ways of trying to manoeuvre ourselves as it relates to the delivery of education—it is dynamic and ever changing. The first semester, coming from a perspective of a school principal went well. There were some challenges, but as leaders it is very important for us to trying to find ways where we can find balance within our school, our parents, our teachers.”


Schools reopened today for the second term, but what has the experience been like for parents and their children? Keegan Lord has children at the primary and secondary levels. While as a parent, he’s had to take on some duties as a teacher, he says that his children are adapting well.


Keegan Lord

Keegan Lord, Parent

“For me, yo coulda never replace a teacher and in the first instance a child learns everything from home. So for us, its been kind of a rollercoaster, but at the end of the day, the kids dehn know most of the material being that the fact that the teachers have been engaged with the kids them throughout the years. So it kinda easy ina wah sense and ih kinda rough; rough in the sense that di kids dehn deh bout whole day, but ina di sense, ih give yo time fu get more engage with yo child and make sure dehn do yo school work.”


A review of the first semester at Saint Lukes Methodist Primary School in Belize City is that their students have been excelling. Principal Pamela Bodden does admit that they have not been able to reach some students for various reasons beyond their control.


Pamela Bodden

Pamela Bodden, Principal, St. Luke Methodist Primary

“I would say maybe about seventy to eighty percent of what we did has been successful in terms of children coming in, working the packages, getting their work correct because the teachers have checked also and they have given them reports during those months. even though it is a new game for all of us, but the teachers have worked very hard and we have made sure that our packages are ready and that parents coming to pick up and drop off work for the children and so it has been working to a certain extent. One of the mediums that has been working for us is the WhatsApp chat and through that medium the teachers have been able to communicate, to work with parents, work with their students, to assist them, to motivate them, to just interact with them.”


There are concerns about the lack of increased interactions between teachers and students, not to mention psychosocial support for the youth and social skills development. Chief Education Officer Yolanda Gongora says that some instances must be considered, particularly as it relates to those fourth form students who will be sitting CSEC Exams in the months ahead.


Yolanda Gongora

“Particularly for fourth form, there might be a need if you are taking the science subjects or the technical/vocational subjects for the delivery in order for the student to be able to carry out the experiment or the project that they are working on. So that is in one of the areas that we will need to address. At this time, we are awaiting a response from CXC.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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.

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