Robotics to the classroom - Barbados Today

The  Common Entrance Examination, which was initially scheduled for May, is to be delayed by one month in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw announced today.

The exam, set to be abolished by the Mia Mottley administration, is to take place on June 2, she said.

The Minister is also eyeing April 14 as “ideally” the date for the start of the Trinity term during which the Eleven-plus, school promotional, CSEC and CAPE exams are set.

She said: “We will give people enough time to get back into the learning environment once we get the all clear to go back to school.

“Now no one can say what will happen over the next couple of days or weeks, and all over the world everyone is taking it in stages.

“The first is to give people comfort that they would not be under pressure, but we still have to make our plans although the dynamics continue to change.”

The Ministry of Education is working to set up online teaching platforms and to ensure children who might not have access to broadband internet access could still benefit from e-learning, she announced.

Bradshaw said: “A couple of weeks ago we were setting our Information and Communications Technology teachers up with email addresses, and even within our current limitations, we are having classes conducted online for our teachers.

“The Ministry of Education is being proactive to give teachers the necessary support to teach in a different environment.

“We are talking to the telecommunications companies to cater to the students who may not have wifi at home, or to devices, because that has been a big concern, and as a Government we have been looking at having devices brought in as well, and the private sector has also talked to us about giving devices.”

The Minister stated that the ministry will be using Google’s cloud-based collaboration, workplace and storage solution, G-Suite for Education, which she said has been around for a while but has not been fully rolled out in the education systems.

Bradshaw said: “It is free, and it allows us to control email addresses and information on the courses, we are training teachers on this at present.

“We are also using CBC and the Gordon Cummins Studio (formerly the Ministry’s Audiovisual Aids Department), which have provided platforms so we will have channels dedicated to online learning, so you will soon see this.”

Regarding Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) CSEC and CAPE examinations for secondary school students, Bradshaw said; “There are some exams CXC has not spoken about as yet, but for the most part anything engaging moderators in a group with more than 25 people has been suspended.

“People can check out our Ministry’s websites on the various platforms to see what that schedule looks like because we will put all of that information online. We will give updates as the situation changes and more information comes to hand.”