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Covid-19 Implications on Education and the way forward

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Posted: Monday, April 20, 2020. 2:19 pm CST.

Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports & Culture

  1. When will schools reopen?

Guidance for the reopening of schools will come from the National Oversight Committee based on advice from health authorities. Under the circumstances, the reopening of schools before the end of the current school year is not guaranteed; therefore, distance and home-based learning are expected to continue to varying degrees at different levels of education.

  1. How does the Ministry of Education plan to support distance and home-based learning?

The Ministry of Education is working closely with international partners such as UNICEF and with key education stakeholders, including school leaders, teachers, and the media, to develop distance and home-based learning strategies for each level of education. These strategies include both academic and psychosocial support.

At the Early Childhood and Primary Education levels, the Ministry will

  • continue to upload online resources and activities on the Ministry’s website at moe.gov.bz;
  • develop and broadcast daily audio-lessons on local FM radio stations; and
  • provide a printed publication containing learning activities for students at the early childhood and primary levels who may otherwise not have access to the other resources being provided.

At the Secondary and TVET levels, the Ministry will

  • assist each high school and ITVET in developing a Learning Continuity Plan that accommodates all students, especially those who may already be marginalized or become so due to the current socio-economic situation;
  • assist in providing printed materials for students who have no access or limited access to technology; and
  • monitor and support the implementation of school plans to ensure quality, equity and compliance with established guidelines.

At the Tertiary level, the Ministry will

  • review and advise institutions on plans for program completion to ensure that adequate provisions are being made for the closure of the school year.

 

  1. What are teachers expected to do during the period of school closure?

Preschool and primary school teachers are expected to:

  • inform and encourage parents to use resources made available through the Ministry of Education or from other professional or pedagogical sources;
  • periodically check on students’ progress; and
  • engage in relevant online professional development courses offered by the Ministry of Education or other approved providers.

High school teachers and ITVET instructors are expected to:

  • develop or identify learning resources;
  • engage students in online or other forms of distance education;
  • provide students with varied and multiple opportunities to learn content and develop skills; and
  • engage in relevant online professional development courses offered by the Ministry of Education or other approved providers.
  1. What should students or parents do if they have concerns about a school’s or teacher’s expectations or requirements for students?

While continued learning is the goal, expectations and requirements should not create any undue burden on students or their families. All concerns should be reported to the teacher or to the school’s principal. If concerns are not resolved or if the principal cannot be reached, parents or students can call the national MOE Hotline at telephone numbers 615-7579 or 615-7402 for assistance.

  1. What is the plan for the promotion and graduation of students?

Preschool Students: First-year students (3 year olds) should be promoted and second-year students (4 year olds) should receive their preschool certificates and transition to primary school.

Primary School Students: In accordance with Education Rule 128 (2), all students from Infant 1 to Standard 5 are expected to be promoted and schools are asked to provide special assistance for those students who require such during the upcoming school year. All Standard 6 students who have met their school’s standards for primary certification and those who have reached fourteen years of age are expected to graduate in accordance with Education Rule 128 (3).

Secondary School Students: High schools are encouraged to provide all Form I to Form III students with sufficient opportunities to advance to the next level of education and to provide remedial support where necessary on the reopening of school. School Boards are asked to adjust graduation requirements such as community service and diploma exams in light of the current pandemic and to provide support and opportunities for students to meet other requirements for graduation.  Schools are advised to seek counsel from the Ministry of Education if necessary.

ITVET Trainees: Wherever possible, ITVET trainees will continue to be engaged by their instructors in support courses, theoretical aspects of training and home-based projects during the period of school closure; however, trainees will not be certified until conditions allow for completion of practical and on-the-job training requirements.

  1. What is the plan for the Primary School Examinations (PSE)?

The PSE will not be administered this academic year. The examination scripts will be given to high schools for use in assessing the competence of their first form students so that targeted academic support can be provided to those who need it.

  1. What is the plan for CSEC and CAPE Exams and scholarships?

Belize cannot participate in the 2020 sitting of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) CAPE and CSEC Examinations as presently scheduled.  A mechanism and criteria are being explored for the award of tertiary grants to those students who had registered for the required number of exams. Details will be provided shortly.

  1. When will students be able to register for school?

The Ministry of Education is requesting that all educational institutions extend their deadlines for registration and payment of school fees until circumstances improve.

  1. What will happen to the high school subsidy program?

The Ministry intends to continue supporting those students in need of assistance to attend high school. Although the Ministry of Education had planned to expand the subsidy program this year to include all high school students attending government high schools, from first to fourth form, this expansion will need to be revisited based on the economic feasibility.

  • What is the status of teachers who were approved for long leave?

Teachers who were approved for long leave by the Teaching Service Commission are considered to have commenced long leave on April 1, 2020. Long leaves will not be deferred.

  1. Will replacement teachers be paid?

Approved replacement teachers will receive salaries as long as Managing Authorities submit written confirmation that they have indeed engaged these teachers.

  • What is the procedure for license renewal during office closures?

Teachers are asked to email electronic copies of their application forms and relevant documents to their District Education Centre or substation at least six weeks in advance of the expiration date on their license. (Please note that sealed documents such as official transcripts should be kept until offices reopen.)

 

District Education Centre Phone # Email Address
Corozal DEC 615-7451 [email protected]
Orange Walk DEC 615-2460 [email protected]
Belize DEC 615-7452 [email protected]
San Pedro Substation 615-7458 [email protected]
Cayo DEC 615-7453 [email protected]
Belmopan Substation 615-7459 [email protected]
Stann Creek DEC 614-9649 [email protected]
Toledo DEC 615-0536 [email protected]

 

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