Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, 3rd from left and Minister in the Ministry Lisa Morris-Julian, 4th from left, pose with representatives of Early Childhood Education Centres and Special Schools following a distribution ceremony for laptops at the ministry’s Port-of-Spain headquarters yesterday.

Over 100 laptops were yesterday distributed to Early Childhood Care Education centres (ECCE) teachers and public Special Schools for use in teaching children virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy were made available to ECCE teachers and 98 for public Special Schools for children with special educational needs.

At a brief distribution ceremony at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters in Port-of-Spain, the devices were handed over to representatives by Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Minister Lisa Morris-Julian.

According to a media release, the Lenovo devices form part of the ministry’s thrust toward ensuring all learners have access to education in this “new normal.”

“As lessons, timetables and resources are prepared within this week, the ministry continues to champion the cause for teachers and students who may not have access to devices or connectivity,” the release said.

The ministry said the distribution of devices is being done in tandem with the Adopt-A-School Initiative, where over 15 corporate entities and NGOs within T&T are in discussions with the ministry to contribute to the development of the nation’s children through sponsorship of digital devices and internet connectivity.

The ministry said it was aiming for 100 per cent participation in online learning but a survey, titled “Teaching and Learning Using the Online Platform,” conducted during the period March 16-April 3, 2020, revealed both students and teachers were challenged by connectivity issues and/or access to ICT devices.

When schools reopened this week, in order to provide equity within the teaching system and the learning process to ensure that no child is left behind, teachers were offered the option to utilise any of the following options:

1. Where student participation was less than 50 per cent for topics taught online, the respective subject teacher should re-teach the relevant topics to the entire class. This will serve as reinforcement to the students who originally participated.

2. Rooms with computers and internet access, eg computer labs and libraries, are to be made available to identified students to access online activities at scheduled times during the school day or after school.

3. One day per cycle should be scheduled to students who have no access to online learning.

4. All other students will remain at home for online learning.

The ministry has asked people or organisations interested in donation devices to students to contact 688-1911 or 622-2181 ext. 1429 and 1426 or by email at [email protected] Further information on the Adopt-A-School Initiative can be found at https://www.moe.gov.tt/adopt-a-school-program/.