Several weeks after the Ministry of Education launched two ICT platforms to enable continuous learning online as schools remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said they continue to enjoy success as more and more people log on.
In a release, officials said, “Teaching and learning for our student population have continued with the uploading of content, activities and answer keys to the Ministry of Education’s Schools Learning Management System (SLMS). The SLMS is available to approximately 230,000 student users from the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) to secondary level whose usage is monitored and supervised by teachers and parents.”
Statistics revealed that to date, the SLMS platform has been utilised by over 90,000 T&T students who have registered online; more than 4,000 teachers who have registered as content creators; 368 courses for ECCE, Primary & Secondary students with quality assurance conducted by the Curriculum Division; 2,000 virtual classrooms have been created and operating since March 16, 2020; and virtual classes range between 44 to 95 students.
Ministry officials said they had listened to calls by stakeholders and had created facilities for the edification and training of both teachers and parents.
To ensure teachers are upskilled to treat with the novel teaching formats, the MOE through its collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) principally, NIHERST, SHELL and various universities including MIT, has uploaded the following content to the SLMS:
- Webinar: How to Teach and Learn from home;
- Game-based design;
- Designing, Developing and Teaching Online; (these are staggered accredited courses which span three months);
- Instructional Design for online use;
- Understanding and Using Open Educational resources and
- Open Educational Student Resources, which provide a wide range of interactive e-books, games, simulations and activities which support learning for each level (ECCE, Primary, Secondary) including TVET.
Officials said parental support has been provided by making available guidelines for learning from home, samples of daily schedule for students to follow for completing their lessons and assessments, and contact information for parents requiring individual assistance and support.
As was highlighted, the ministry noted, Home-Based Learning (HBL) can be a challenge for many students who are not equipped with the requisite tools to keep connected at this time.
To this end, the ministry has engaged in discussions with stakeholders for the provision of electronic devices to be utilised by those students in need who would be logging into the learning platform..
Collaboration with the Telecommunication Association of T&T (TATT) and the Ministry of Public Administration has also begun with a view “to making internet connectivity available to all unserved students and to providing free accessibility to all users of the MOE’s SLMS platform.”
The ministry said it was imperative for all citizens at this time to do his/her part to ensure that children can continue to receive an education. Parents are encouraged to create a routine for their children that will allow for an easy transition back to schools when they are reopened.
Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul