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Daycare relief for ‘essential’ workers

Part of a childcare programme for essential services workers will be up and running today, the Minister of Education pledged this week.

Diallo Rabain said that the programme, designed for children aged 5 and 6, would be held at the Sammy Wilson Central Zone Community Centre, on Angle Street in Hamilton.

Mr Rabain added: “Parents who submitted applications should have received an electronic link from the Department of Education with more detailed information, such as the name of person to collect a child on a daily basis, emergency contact person and details on food allergies.”

He added that a second programme was to be provided for children aged 7 to 10 at CedarBridge Academy.

Mr Rabain said the start date would be decided by the end of the week.

The announcement came as part of an update given by Mr Rabain on education as David Burt, the Premier, talked about the Covid-19 crisis on Monday.

Mr Rabain thanked teachers and school staff for their “hard work and efforts put forward during the past week in engaging our students and keeping our parents updated”.

He said that the education ministry's remote-learning strategy included print and electronic copies of home-learning packets for pupils, the use of PowerSchool for assignments online, and the posting of activities and information on school websites.

Mr Rabain said that online platforms such as Frog and Google Classroom had also been used, as had e-mails, telephone calls and other communication apps to stay in touch with parents.

He added that options for home-learning were set up “in recognition that staff and schools need the flexibility to provide the remote-learning activities for which they are equipped to execute at this time”.

Mr Rabain explained: “This means the remote-learning activities for students varied from school to school and teacher to teacher, with the curriculum being the common denominator.”

He added: “I am very encouraged by what was achieved during the first week, recognising the technological challenges and the significant demands placed on educators and parents who were navigating their own home environments.”

Mr Rabain said that the ministry's remote learning strategy was in its “infancy stage” and that information would be collected from schools to gauge its strengths and weaknesses.

He added that information collected from school, parent and staff technology and internet surveys would be reviewed from this week.

Mr Rabain said that almost 2,500 responses from parents and about 400 responses from teachers had been collected.

He added: “We are aware that not all staff and students have access to the devices and internet needed to support the remote-learning strategy.

“The data from the surveys will help us gain a more accurate picture of the situation and to determine the best way moving forward.”

Mr Rabain said the Department of Education was working with Cambridge International and other international examination boards to “determine the way forward for students” after it was announced that Cambridge Checkpoints, IGCSE and other exams would not be held this year.

Mr Rabian added that the education department had also started talks about end-of-year Bermudian exams and senior school graduation.

He said: “All efforts will be made to ensure that what we put into place will be in the best interest of our students.”

Mr Rabain said that plans to redesign public education would go ahead on a remote basis.

He added: “It is our intent not to delay the school and system redesign consultancy.

“We have a high level of confidence in starting the consultancy using this approach as the consultants have previous experience working with countries on projects using remote platforms.

Mr Rabain announced last month that international firm Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand had been selected after a request for proposal for outside help to restructure the school system.

The contract will run until at least the 2021-22 school year.

To read Diallo Rabain's statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

Diallo Rabain, the education minister, speaks during the daily Covid-19 press conference held by David Burt, the Premier, at the Cabinet Building on Monday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published April 02, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 02, 2020 at 8:59 am)

Daycare relief for ‘essential’ workers

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