With various technology options available to teachers, students, parents, and caregivers several internet-based programmes have been initiated for students to continue components of their curriculum while at home. Programmes such as Edmodo, Google Classroom, Digicel Learning, FLOW Study and others are being utilized to post subject instruction and project work by teachers for students and parents to access at home. Countries have, by necessity, had to get creative by obtaining support from the media houses to share information and carry out teaching sessions live on various public and social platforms. Media houses in Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Kitts and Nevis have been providing airtime for classroom content – enabling teachers to record instructional videos in various subject areas for airing at specific times during the day.
WhatsApp is being used more and more by teachers to communicate with parents throughout the school year to provide information and tips. Many teachers who had not previously had social media communication with parents are now creating WhatsApp parent groups and using it as a medium to share information and support parents with their children’s learning while at home during this unprecedented time.
For the students who do not have access to the internet or computers at home, the teachers in all Member States have made best efforts to print materials and provide these students with physical packages to continue work while at home. Additionally, ‘storytime’ to support reading and listening at home, are being rolled out on television and radio stations across the region.
Reading Specialist within the OECS/USAID ELP, Lisa Terrance -Sargusingh stated that
“The EDMU continues to work alongside all Member State Ministries of Education to facilitate the continued education process at home, and to provide support for our early learners, their teachers and parents during school closures. Additionally, the OECS/USAID ELP team has implemented an aggressive campaign on social and traditional media platforms to showcase to families how they can engage children in their homes.”
About OECS/USAID ELP:
OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme is a Programme within the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission and was established in March 2015 to improve the reading skills of children in the early primary grades with the goal of providing a foundation for improved learning outcomes and enhanced opportunities for students in the six (6) independent Member States of the OECS (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines).
To date the ELP has achieved a number of tangible outputs with over 17,000 learners reached at the Primary level, over 1500 Grades K to 3 teachers supported through job embedded professional development, 1426 lessons observed and 1031 coaching sessions with teachers have been completed by ELP Coordinators. Further, 60 schools across the Member States have received development grants to support reading enhancement projects and 173,114 teaching and learning materials have been provided to 750 classrooms across the OECS. The OECS/USAID ELP will run through to September 2020 continuing to develop and implement impactful initiatives that advance early grade reading throughout the OECS.