PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Member of Parliament Solange Ludmila Duncan sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) inquiring about the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector, plans moving forward and the State of Education Report 2020.
“Since our initial lockdown last year due to the spread of the Coronavirus, there was a shift from physical to online learning. Currently there are schools that are using a blended or staggered approach while others are operating normally. What is most important but generally unknown at this time however, is the impact of the school shut down and the last ten months on our students’ learning abilities and development,” noted MP Duncan.
The MP submitted a number of questions to the Minister of ECYS regarding the need for updates, especially concerning vulnerable students. “This crisis has been difficult for everyone but even harder on our students with special needs and disabilities who need that physical and in-class attention. We need to ensure that we understand the impact that the lockdown has had on our students and prepare the sector and families for future disruptions,” added the MP.
MP Duncan also inquired about stakeholder consultation, in particular whether teachers and staff have been surveyed on their experiences and opinions. “I have spoken to teachers who prefer online learning but I am curious about what effect this will have on our students. I would also like to hear from the schools directly on any paradigm shift in learning that may take place and how schools plan to adapt to the new normal.” The MP believes that the experiences of teachers, staff, students and any best practices that schools have developed since 2020 should be shared publicly and used for both policy making and legislation.
“I recognize that the Ministry has been working hard on the Education Continuity Plan and policies to keep our students safe. A detailed State of Education Report will allow us to understand how COVID 19 has affected education and our students and provide us with ideas and initiatives that will be necessary for important reforms moving forward. I look forward to receiving a copy from the Ministry of ECYS when published.” concluded MP Duncan.