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Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

Newly-appointed Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said yesterday that the school system will resume come September 1 and not in January next year as previously stated. However, it will be administered via online teaching methods due to the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

In a release issued through her ministry, Gadsby-Dolly said teaching and learning for term 1 of the new academic year, which runs from September to December, 2020, will be implemented remotely.

The update on the way forward from ministry reiterated that it was being guided by the Ministry of Health as it continues preparations for the start of the new academic year 2020-2021.

It said prior to yesterday’s announcement, the ministry had been focussing on designing a blended learning experience – a mix of face-to-face and virtual classes. However, it said light of the present circumstances, where T&T’s overall COVId-19 cases reached 1,252 up to last evening, no face-to-face interaction is now possible.

“Therefore, the emphasis has shifted to the design of curriculum delivery methods using solely digital and traditional platforms, ensuring that no learner is left behind,” the ministry said.

The ministry said in an effort to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are considered in the design of term one 2020/21, it is expected to meet with various stakeholder bodies today.

It added that it is “cognizant of the fact that all students do not have access to the online environment” and as such the meeting “will refine varying approaches to reaching students and ensuring effective delivery and engagement.”

It said specific details of the operational and curriculum guidelines for term one will be communicated to the public at a media conference on Friday (August 28).

“The Ministry of Education remains committed to fulfilling its mandate of quality, accessible and equitable education for all citizens,” the ministry said.