CPEA – Carefully Planning Educational Admission
EDITOR: The current Covid-19 pandemic demands a reset in the way Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary institutions are organized and managed. The virus spread is enhanced and facilitated by having people in confined spaces and by the movement of people together in planes, boats, and vehicles.
Every community usually has the educational resources and personnel that are needed for its success. Therefore, it is advantageous that teachers work in the community in which they live. Students should also be educated in their own community. This reduces the necessity to travel long distances outside the community and reduces the likelihood of transmission of the Covid-19 virus. Additionally, overcrowding in Kingstown schools would be reduced.
Elementary students tend to gravitate to certain schools hoping to enhance their chances of gaining admission to particular secondary schools. If these secondary schools would offer places to the top 10 students in each elementary school, more of these students would attend their neighbourhood school.
Class size needs to be small in order to facilitate social distancing. Classroom should be well ventilated and classes should be held outdoors where possible. Team-teaching at the elementary level may not be desirable. One teacher per class limits possible exposure of staff and students to virus spread.
Emphasis needs to be placed on requiring all teachers to have CSEC passes in English A and Mathematics, to encourage them to be active members of the public libraries, to read the local newspapers and to require their students to do the same.
To prevent the run on certain secondary schools equal opportunity for quality education needs to be available at all secondary schools. The research says that the best schools are academically focused. Therefore to prevent discrimination against rural schools, all secondary schools should teach each of the core subjects for a minimum of 200 minutes per week for the 5-year duration of secondary school. Based on UWI recruiting workshops that I have attended these core subjects are:
1. English A
Three other subjects, mainly skills and career related, should be taught for the 5-year duration of secondary schooling, at a minimum of 200 minutes per week each. By the time a child graduates from secondary school he would have sufficient skills to employ himself and others having studied for 5 years in the skilled area. Thus, each secondary school student would study seriously a maximum of 8 subjects. Knowledge of other areas can be acquired though extensive reading. Computing skills should be as commonplace as reading, as they would be used in all the subjects studied. Many students do not do their part in terms of homework and practice. Studying the subjects practically every day would help particularly the weak students to master the subjects even if it is based solely on class attendance.
The role of policymakers would be to ensure fair and equitable distribution of quality staff and funding for all the schools. Mayreau needs its own secondary school program. Their school could be organized from grade 1-12 with about three additional teachers. Having to travel by boat every day from Mayreau to Union Island secondary school could be hazardous and counterproductive.
Our Community College should be constantly surveying the needs of the various communities and develop specific Certificate and Associate Degree programs to meet those needs. Scholarships should be advertised based on these needs. Areas of need may include:
- Piano tuning
- Pan tuning
- Shoe repairs and construction
- Sewing machine repairing
- Household Appliance repairs
- Office Machine repairs
- Computer repairs
- Financial counselling
- Garment construction
- Marine farming
- Compost and manure
- Hair, skin, and nail care
- Nursing and homecare
Anthony Stewart, PhD