Veteran reggae artiste Tanya Stephens is adding her voice to the growing calls for the Jamaican government to scrap the remainder of the school term, which will continue online until July 3.
In an update to the nation on Monday (May 4), Minister with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda, said online and distance learning will continue until July 3 and schools would not physically reopen until the new academic year on September 7.
Stephens notes that the move to continue with the school term comes at a disadvantage to thousands of pupils island-wide who, due to financial constraints, are unable to access learning materials and online classes.
She adds that many of these children also do not have the right support, as many of their parents are unable to assist them with adjusting to the new format of online learning.
“The Ministry of Education needs to scrap the failed experiment that is the 2020 School year “– Tanya Stephens
On Friday, Stephens shared a voice note on her Instagram page, in which a mother shares her frustration with the education system.
The mother says her daughter, who was falling behind in school, is overwhelmed by the daily workload which is distributed in a WhatsApp group.
The mother adds that she is frustrated as she is unable to assist her daughter as she is illiterate.
“This child is not unique. We tend to prescribe our medication across the board when different people have different illnesses and therefore need different treatment, “said Stephens.
“Ministry of Education Jamaica you guys are making a major blunder AND disenfranchising the children of the masses, the children of Jamaica! I know you are working hard but the objective of work is to achieve favourable results, not to be exhausted,” added Stephens.
Further, she shared that the ministry should consider discontinuing the Easter school term, as continuing with online classes would help to further marginalise poorer students with less parental support.
“The Ministry of Education needs to scrap the failed experiment that is the 2020 School year,” said Stephens
“You can’t simply say school continues online when you have never put measures in place to make sure children have access and parents are equipped to monitor,” added Stephens.
The Ministry of Education revealed that it has been unable to connect with thirty-one thousand students who do not have internet access.