Education minister urges basic schools' transition to infant schoolsSunday, October 17, 2021
MINISTER of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams has suggested that basic schools may need to transition into Government-supported infant or early childhood institutions to survive.
Pointing out that basic schools are privately owned institutions, comparable to Government-supported infant schools which have trained teachers, Williams said that over the years the Government has given them some support in terms of a stipend to pay at least one trained teacher.
“But the better plan is to transition the basic schools into infant centres or schools, where the Government can provide them with the necessary resources and trained teachers for the students,” she told the House of Representatives recently in response to questions from Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs).
The minster noted that there are over 2,000 basic schools across the island, which can register with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and become eligible for Government support.
“So you see it is going to take some time to transition all those schools to become Government infant schools with properly trained professionals,” she said.
Williams also revealed that some 40,000 electronic devices have already been handed out to grades 4-6 students who are on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). However, there is a total need for 175, 000 devices to benefit some 200,000 students on the programme. Laptops are also needed for students in grades 10-13.
She says that the ministry has turned to multiple procurements in an effort to meet the needs of the rest of students and teachers in need of the devices, including a multiple procurement programmes to assist PATH students in grades 7-9.
“So there is still a gap, but as we get more devices they will be handed out,” a very optimistic sounding Williams assured the Opposition MPs.
She also urged some of the teachers who are in training but have not received any device to continue using the schools computer labs, if they are having problems with it at home, and ensure that they can reach out to the students.