Monday 10 August, 2020

PM: Budget to be adjusted for student electronics, schools stay closed

School remains online for primary, secondary, and tertiary students.

School remains online for primary, secondary, and tertiary students.

The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley is reassuring the Barbadian public that the government is still working to provide electronic devices for students who are in need.

"The government will provide the resources for those who cannot do so . . . 

"We're working hard, hard, hard, but we're conscious that it's not just a money issue. It is a supply and logistics issue because just as we were having problems with accessing ventilators, we are conscious that people are having problems with accessing tablets, largely because everywhere across the world has been catapulted into an e-learning environment."

This was said during the press conference today, May 14, 2020.

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The Prime Minister said that this is a matter which she feels very strongly about. “I do not believe that we can have two Barbadoses. I do not believe that we can have a situation where one set of people have access to learning tools and the other side of people are left without”.

Therefore, she urged that adjustments will have to be made to the budget in order to facilitate those students who are in need of electronic devices for educational use.

She is currently in the process of ensuring that this venture will be successful through the help of the Ministry of Education and Innovation. "We're still in the early days."

Mottley is hopeful that what they wish to accomplish will be completed for the next academic year. "We hope that everything will be ready for sure for the September term, to the extent that we can have people ready for some level in this term." However, Barbados is among many countries who are facing the global outcry for tablets and devices to facilitate remote learning during this pandemic.

Schools, including nurseries still closed

Additionally, the Prime Minister says that the thought of nurseries, nursery schools and child care businesses being reopened will be examined when the country enters Phase 4.

“We are working diligently but we are working with the fact that some people who have to go back out to work do need support for their…children”. At this time, the Prime Minister said that she hopes the extended family members will step up to the plate and assist until the next Phase. 

Journalists posed questions about the Common Entrance Examination and the reopening of schools, to which Barbados' leader said that the Education Minister will have her day and hour to speak on the exam soon.

In relation to the reopening of the schools, Mottley confessed that in her layperson mindset, she personally figured they could start with the reopening of primary schools, but under the guidance of the health officials that's still a no-no now, she explained. She said the three-year-old to 11-year-old children may not comply with the social distancing protocols and then they must go into homes with family members, especially with grandparents who are vulnerable. For this reason, school facilities will remain closed for now. 

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