First day back to public schools for the students following the COVID-19 Protocols on Wednesday 9th September 2020 at a hand sanitizing station at a school’s entrance.

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 11th September 2020) – Minister of Education Jonel Powell, in speaking at the opening ceremony to mark the start of the new school year on Monday 7th September 2020, addressed bridging the gap in education and digital technology.

“As we stand on the threshold of yet another school year, we do so fully conscious that the year that what lies ahead will be like no other for the education of children anywhere in the world  for us here in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as we consider of present realities  in terms of the continued education of our precious resources-our children- I would like to share just a few words on bridging the gap in education and digital technology, the way forward for learning spaces across the world.”

He added: “The students of today, the students of the future will demand that learning support  that is appropriate for their situation or their context; nothing more, nothing less and they will come to expect that the support as the momentum their needs arise – not sooner, not later.”

Powell said that the Ministry of Education recognizes that this is an important time of transition and evolution of our education system.

“The way in which the evolution of the system of education has been perceived is an emphasis on the acquisition of devices and a focus on content solutions but the abrupt shift in our education delivery brought about by the pandemic, we must move towards integrated solutions that break down boundaries and solutions that accommodate this new norm of our educational structure. Now is the time more than ever before to maximize the opportunities that has risen in terms of digital education and its key components that will make our new norm work.”

The Education Minister continued: “Digital education mandates that the Ministry of Education procures solutions that focus heavily on the connections between all education stakeholders, teachers to students, teachers to parents, education leaders to teachers and parents, students to students, teachers to teachers and schools to community within a digital space understanding the drivers that would steer these connections and what makes the new reality.”

He said over the past few months, the Ministry of Education not only stood at the portal of an unforeseen reality , it also gave us an opportunity to understand the behaviours, preferences, tendencies of all stakeholders who will form the connections and forge ahead  with digital education.

According to him, in order for it to function effectively, the Ministry of Education has identified two critical connections.

“Firstly, the integrated student life cycle  that creates a continuum  from pre-k to the last lesson a student ever learns so that not only what the student learns is being tracked but how they learned it and secondly , the integration of technology solutions. The latter of these connections is practical solutions that would solve all functional problems that exist across academia today and not only the changes brought on by the pandemic.”

“These are the solutions that will help teachers to keep their various responsibilities synced digitally. Solutions that would encourage collaborations and teamwork amongst education leaders, solutions that would highlight best practices of integrating technology into the learning spaces. These are the solutions that would actively involve the home and parents earning with their children and understanding the importance of the digital space. These are also the solutions that allow learning to be extended beyond the limitations of the school day or the class and the physical boundaries of school. These solutions are designed to improve learning outcomes,” Powell added.