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Minister of Education, Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

Anna-Lisa Paul

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has endorsed the importance of data collection at all levels of the educational system as she said the time to transform the sector is now.

Revealing the research gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic would inform future policy decisions at the Ministry of Education, she said stakeholders had to continue finding creative and innovative ways to reach students.

Delivering the feature address during the University of the Southern Caribbean’s Virtual Research Day 2021 yesterday, Gadsby-Dolly said in T&T, “it has not been an easy task to maintain the business of education.”

Unwilling to be daunted by the challenges relating to online connectivity and lack of devices which has hampered the progress of virtual classes for some, the minister said the Government was continuing to move ahead with plans to ensure all students have access to an online education.

Admitting that the closure of schools had come with a high social and economic cost, the minister said the forced action had also exacerbated existing disparities among students as those who were under-resourced would have experienced an interruption in their education.

Gadsby-Dolly spoke of the initial frustration and anxiety in teachers in relation to the distance learning platforms; and also among parents who now had to juggle being career professionals, teachers, and full-time carers.

She said being away from the physical school environment had also had a psychological impact on both students and teachers.

Commending teachers and students for displaying a sense of resilience which was able to see them through major exams last year, Gadsby-Dolly said, “The time to transform the education system is now.”

She thanked the USC for recognising just how important data collection and research was for the future of T&T.

USC president Dr Hilary Bowman said the reorganization of their graduate school since the beginning of 2021 had led to this area becoming further developed.

He said while they wanted to see greater faculty involvement regarding student research, the USC was aware that funding for this department is needed and he assured they would pursue this in the future as they are committed to building a research culture in the university.