Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Flatlining education needs a shock, says Savoury-Gittens


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Like healthcare, Barbados’ “once prized education system is also flatlining and needs to be shocked and brought back to life”.

Melissa Savoury-Gittens, the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) chairperson for the working group on education, addressed the issues affected the critical sector during a public meeting at the corner of Pine Plantation Road and Collymore Rock, St Michael on Sunday night.

She said the high cost of living was putting an additional strain on families, some of which were unable to provide the basic tools children needed in order to excel in school.

And of critical concern, are the children who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic and are yet to catch up.

“It is not only the cost of living putting students at risk. It is the delusion of this government that the last two years where COVID-19 affected all of us, all of us, especially our students, did not happen and all is well that ends well,” Savoury-Gittens said.

“Too many students, our children, through no fault of their own, have fallen behind because of COVID-19 as our school system does not have the infrastructure to ensure our students were not disadvantaged. Many of them had no laptops, no computers, no tablets, no internet, therefore little to no school time; no electricity, no extracurricular activities and I could go on and on and on.”

She accused government of burying its head in the sand “refusing to acknowledge that these children need to catch up” and there is “nothing happening to supplement the educational loss”.

School has resumed with no change in the curriculum to help those who have fallen behind. There is no word on after school programmes and no plans to assist teachers and parents to get the children where they need to be, both academically and emotionally.

Savoury-Gittens also queried whether an assessment was done to determine how many children needed extra help.

Stating she is where she is because of the educational policies of the DLP, she said the party was listening, and with its limited financial resources, would try to help wherever they could.

“We understand and we know without a shadow of a doubt that you and you, deserve better. You all deserve better,” she said.

This current administration is also not listening to the concerns of its people, Savoury-Gittens charged.

“If we had a government that worked, if we had a Government that cared, if we had a government that knew what it was doing, and if they were listening, they would know what we know. They would know what?” she asked the audience. “That ‘tings outta control’,” referencing the theme of the night’s meeting.

Savoury-Gittens called on the Ministry of Education to bring the stakeholders together to address the issues affecting the sector.  (SAT)



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