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(SNO) – Saint Lucia’s third academic term will begin on Monday, April 20, 2020, with students being taught from home via digital media.

Education Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert made the announcement on Sunday, April 12 in a live broadcast to the nation.

She updated the public on the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response protocols for the commencement of the third academic term.

Here are several main points from her announcement (courtesy the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations)

– The third team will focus on digital instruction and learning which includes lessons being delivered via the internet, radio, and television.

– The transition to digital education will continue with the support of several agencies and partners to accommodate students and teachers who lack connectivity

– In the third term, no new concepts will be introduced.

– The term will be spent consolidating topics that were introduced during the first and second terms.

The Gros Islet Constituency Council posted highlights of the education minister’s speech via their official Facebook page:

-The third term will be done via virtual means and commences on April 20, 2020.

-Protocols for collection of activity sheets for various grades will be given during the week.

-The focus on teachers being trained during a four-day period in the use of digital and virtual technologies.

-75 tablets donated by UNICEF for economically-challenged households.

-UNICEF to take on some of the costs of training teachers.

-The OECS donated equipment that will facilitate the setting up of the five streaming rooms around the island to help stream content to students.

-Digicel donated 75 MiFi devices; 25 given to Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

-Teachers and principals at the various schools are in the process of indicating which students who are more in need to benefit from the said devices.

-Digicel has committed to training primary school teachers over a four-day period in the use of Microsoft teams.

-Flow has granted free access for all students to use Flow study.

-No new concepts will be introduced for this period. The focus will be on topics that have been dealt with in previous terms.

-Common Entrance Exams are currently being revised to ensure it is aligned with the areas of the curriculum taught in grade five and the first term of grade six.

-Parents won’t have to contend with teaching new topics.

-Parents of children at secondary schools should ensure their child creates a Gmail account due to the concept that classrooms will be hosted using Google classrooms/suites.

-Some form of nutritional support will be provided to underprivileged children who used to be fed at school.

-CXC indicates that all testing will be via digital mode/e-testing mode.

-CSEC/CAPE: The government agreed to proceed with the option of exams in September to October 2020, marking of SBA’s between September and November, and publication of results in December.

-10 MiFi devices were issued to students in the south and the remaining to other locations. Up to six users can access the internet at one time with each device.

-Students can access content on Sir Arthur Lewis domains free of charge.

-Training for college teachers using web conferring tools. Teaching with model platforms; streaming from Facebook.

-More than 80% of students are enrolled on the SALCC e-learning platform and are engaging with lecturers and faculty; 96% of faculty are using e-learning platforms and 84% of SALCC courses for semester two are now online.

-NSDC to use ZOOM conferencing; lessons to be delivered via email as well. Visit the NSDC website for added details.

-Students on scholarships overseas have been contacted and consultation is ongoing.

-Families are encouraged to use activities that can be found on the Ministry of Education’s web page.

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