Children are now able to engage in face-to-face learning as schools reopen countrywide. Several schools along Woolford Avenue, Georgetown recorded the attendance figure of their students with the onset of schools on Monday. North Georgetown Secondary had a first-day turnout of 245 students from Grades eight to 11.
St. Joseph High School saw a 70 per cent attendance rate of 369 students out of a total of 500 students. The Tutorial High School had the largest attendance of 648 students on the first day while Richard Ishmael Secondary recorded 285 students.
When asked about their thoughts on the resumption of classes, the teachers eagerly supported the government’s decision to resume teaching in the classroom setting. Some also relayed the important role, face-to-face interactions play in children’s learning.
Shazim Mohamed, a teacher at the North Georgetown Secondary School said that online learning has contributed majorly to learning loss.
“I think it’s a good idea that the government is doing this because there is evidence of learning losses, school dropouts, it’s prevalent all over. Face-to-face learning is the ultimate type of learning because with online learning we have different factors to take into consideration that limit the capacity to explore in online learning while in the classroom we don’t have those factors so face-to-face learning is always the best option.”
The headmaster of North Georgetown Secondary, Felton Fraser, stated that teachers within the school are implementing a series of measures to combat the severe learning loss seen in students.
He shared, “We already have systems in place to have after-school lessons, especially for the Grade Nine students because they are supposed to have their Grade Nine exams and projects. Teachers are working early in the morning before eight, teachers are working after class in the afternoon, so we are here working.”
At Tutorial High School, acting headmaster David Sam stated that he was happy to resume face-to-face learning while ensuring Covid-19 measures and guidelines are implemented and followed.
“Virtual learning isn’t as effective as face-to-face learning so the move to have children back in the classroom is a good initiative. However, we still have to adhere to the principles and the rules of COVID. As teachers what we are doing here is trying our best to enforce the guidelines by reinforcing our supervision. So, we have senior teachers going around ensuring that children follow the guidelines to the best that they could.”
Meanwhile, the headmaster of St. Joseph High School Nathram Raghubansi supports in-person learning as more of the education syllabus can be covered. He also noted that the teachers at the school are implementing diagnostic tests to ensure students are up to par.
“I support the view of face-to-face learning because it helps us interact more and to have more content covered. Teachers are very thoughtful, they know our students and they have a very easy way of reaching out to our students, and they will do basic diagnostic tests to see what work was covered and if they are levelled or on par so that they can move from thereafter.”
The government and teachers are making a genuine effort to ensure students are provided with the best educational opportunity so that they can be outstanding citizens and future leaders despite the ongoing pandemic.