Information Officer II
Department of Information & Public Relations
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture is putting measures in place to assist, parents, teachers and students with resources for the upcoming remote learning.
These resources include laptops, device loan programme, video packages as well as commitment from telecommunication companies to lower prices of data packages or even special data package offerings for students and teachers.
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley told parents during the Remote Learning Orientation for parents, that the Territory has to make the adjustment toward online education.
“In fact I would say that this is something we have been speaking about for many years before COVID-19. We have been speaking about embracing technology and using it as a tool to advance the education system. To be able to survive in the world as it is today, one of the core competencies you must acquire is that being able to utilise technology.” Dr. the Honourable Wheatley said.
The Minister for Education said the ministry understands that some students may not have the ability to access online learning tools due to limited resources at home and several measures would be put in place. These he said include:
· Students who are deemed least capable of being able to purchase a laptop will be given priority from the donation of 1000 laptops that were contributions by the BVI corporate community through UNITEBVI.
· A loan programme will be available for parents of students in Grades 7 to 9, who are unable to purchase laptops and the existing Virgin Island Digital Education – VIDE devices for a minimal fee. Devices will remain the property of the Government of the Virgin Islands. A rent-to-own programmes is also being explored.
· Learning video packages will be available for students to download. The ministry will be sourcing storage drives (jump drives) tor students without Internet. Video lessons will be uploaded by teachers.
· FLOW has discounted existing Internet plans by 25% to make them more affordable for families.
· Both DIGICEL and FLOW have decided to zero rate educational websites that will be used for online learning. Zero rating means that data for streaming the selected online platforms will not be subtracted from data plans.
· CCT has a different billing model. Their plans are unlimited.
· Based on the survey results for remote learning, parents indicated that they were willing to pay a certain amount of money for Internet plans. The ministry has engaged the telecommunications companies with creating specific packages that can match what parents are able to pay.
In addition, schools will be available to principals and teachers for a limited time for teachers to get access to resources. Principals will handle the management of this access in line with the Curfew Order.
Dr. the Honourable Wheatley assured parents that the ministry is doing everything in its power to ensure that students continue to learn and are provided instructions to succeed.
Online orientation and review for students and parents will take place on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1, for all public schools. Online classes will begin on Monday, May 4. Three online platforms Classdojo, Google Classroom and Cisco Webex have been suggested to facilitate the remote learning.
To view the Remote Learning Orientation for Parents Online, visit the Government’s Facebook page @BVIGovernment or click link: https://bit.ly/3aN4hzn
For more information about remote learning during COVID-19, contact the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture at 468-9491