By EDDIE OSIFELO
MINISTRY of Education and Human Resources has seen the need to resume exam classes mainly forms 3,5,6 and 7 living outside the Emergency zones and high risk areas.
Permanent Secretary, Dr Franco Rodie told a 4th Radio Talkback show at SIBC on Sunday 26th April that it is important to resume some classes because of the impact on students’ learning being already significant.
He said the ministry is doing this to manage the situation.
MEHR declared a nationwide closure for all schools towards end of March in response to the high-level covid-19 threat.
This decision is taken as a precautionary measure to protect our people and country from the threat of covid-19 and is in accordance with the Education Act (1978) section 20.
It follows the decision made on March 20, 2020 to close all schools in Honiara and Guadalcanal following the advice given by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Rodie earlier said following the State of Public Emergency address by Prime Minister due to the threat of the coronavirus on national security and mass repatriation of people to the provinces which is causing anxiety, panic, confusion amongst schools and Education Authorities, the ministry decided to close all schools throughout the country.
However, exam classes are resuming today except for all schools in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Noro, Munda, Choiseul-bay and Shortland Islands.
“All students in other level or forms such as Early Childhood Centres (ECE), Primary classes 1-6, secondary forms 1, 2 and 4 and Rural Training Centres (RTC) in all locations – all students should remain at their respective homes and villages until further notice is issued by the Ministry of Education,” Rodie announced.
He further added that in the first week of class resumption, the Ministry will make an assessment to attain information if there is a need to recall students of schools in the remaining provinces namely Honiara, Guadalcanal, Noro, Munda, Choiseul-bay and Shortland Islands.
Further to that, PS Rhodie said schools can utilise the school grants to help students go back to boarding schools because they are not used since schools closed in March.
He said the school grants should be for six months, so schools can utilise that to assist students get back to schools.
World Bank blog states that as of March 28, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries.
This is close to 80 percent of the world’s enrolled students.
“We were already experiencing a global leaning crisis, as many students were in school, but were not learning the fundamental skills needed for life. The World Bank’s “Learning Poverty” indicator – the % of children who cannot read and understand at age 10 – stood at 53% of children in low- and middle-income countries – before the outbreak started. This pandemic has the potential to worsen these outcomes even more if we do not act fast.
“What should we be worried about in this phase of the crisis that might have an immediate impact on children and youth?
- Losses in learning;
- Increased dropout rates;
- Children missing their most important meal of the day.
Moreover, most countries have very unequal education systems, and these negative impacts will be felt disproportionately by poor children. When it rains, it pours for them. ,” Jame Saavedra said.