Education: the big picture


THERE could be no doubt that the post-pandemic situation is fraught with many problems ranging from concerns for health, education, economy and personal situations.

Among these that may be prioritised according to our individual cares come the national concerns. Even then debate will range over which should be our priorities.

My view is that the greatest and most enduring problem will be our loss of ‘effective teaching-learning’ time over well nigh two years.

The attempted and necessary remote/virtual substitute fell far short of the proven ‘inclass’ and interactive teaching.

Whatever we will finally agree upon or debate, the question of need for us to examine fully the shortfall in our schools will call for serious examination. It will be a lingering problem filled with repetitive situations for our school system to face on a daily basis.

The role of education as expanded to all aspects of national life will be even more greatly appreciated and, quite frankly and correctly, duly examined. No effort should be spared in this direction.

Accompanying this will be the will of the varying parties and stakeholders, inclusive very importantly of parents and parental support. The question of ‘home schooling’, is brought into clear focus and must be addressed seriously.

In this respect, the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA) must play a pivotal role and must accept to educate their members in this new situation. Efforts at school alone or home alone will not suffice. It will, therefore, fall to collaboration on the part of school, home and community duly monitored.

Yes, it does seem a brand new ball game, but emergency situations require emergency application. It begs the question: how prepared are we for this new situation?

Time is certainly against us. We just cannot wait any longer, as we are already way behind and needing to look beyond and well in advance of the present. Initiatives like after-school programmes may become necessary.

Maintaining required standards, not yielding to any temptation to seek what would appear like great results by compromise of the degree of difficulty necessary, will duly give us the real and big picture. We must expect lower results and, therefore, need to be practical about it, not seeking comparison with previous years when we were at full speed and ably carried out our programmes.

The already onerous duties of our schools have just grown even more challenging, and our teachers are being called upon to rise to the occasion. There are implications for all levels of our practitioners in education. They are to be duly supported and encouraged, including further training as necessary. Experienced and proven performers in retiree teachers may be the needed and competent human resource we need here.

Lennox Sirjuesingh retired principal Chaguanas