Slow start to classes

Honiara High School. Photo by RNZ.
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IT was slow start for exam classes, mainly forms 3,5,6 and 7 outside of Honiara, Guadalcanal, Noro, Munda, Choiseul bay and Shortland Islands, which were supposed to resume classes on Monday 27th April.

This came after only few students arrived at the schools, leaving no option but wait for a later date to resume classes as opposed to Monda 27th April, the date mandated by Ministry of Education and Human Resources.

A teacher at Patukai Community High School in Marovo, Western province, Lasa Bennett said ‘only two to three’ students arrived at the school.

Bennett believes this may be blamed on students and parents living on the surrounding villages not receiving the message well.

He said on the other hand, it may be tough for some parents to send their students back to school because of boat expenses.

“Some of the students resides in Vangunu, which the weathercoast of Marovo.

“It is really expensive for some parents who don’t work to send their students back to school,” he said.

Bennett said school may likely to be in full swing next week as this week will be treated as travelling time for students.

Another teacher at Adaua Secondary school in North Malaita raised the similar sentiment.

The teacher said not many students have arrived at the school with few teachers as well.

“I think this week, most students will start arriving back at the school.

“It is likely classes may start next week,” he said.

Ministry of Education and Human Resources 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.

Dr 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.

“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,” PS 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.