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Absence of face-to-face learning creating long term problems- PM

Absence of face-to-face learning creating long term problems- PM
Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister

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The fact that children are not being exposed to regular face to face teaching is creating long term problems.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to stay at home and engage in online classes. This has been prolonged by the eruption of La Soufriere volcano but since the online approach has been implemented, a wide cross section of students have not been attending classes regularly.

Also, several teachers have not been taking the online teaching seriously and have left students stranded despite the government’s initiative to provide students with digital devices.

On Tuesday during a press briefing at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, said the real consequences of the issue will not be seen until, “seven, ten years down the road.”

“Some who leave (school) are not going to go back, and it is going to be a problem. You have the education interrupted, you are going to suffer,” Gonsalves said while adding that the persons who are going to suffer most are the children of the poor, the working class, the peasantry, single parents (particularly mothers who do not have a supportive male figure in the home).

“The… actual classroom provides a structure for them to be supported in a number of ways,” Gonsalves said noting that this is separate from the question of learning.

“We better understand this and understand it well. And I want people to know when I talk about these things, I am giving the benefit of years and years of study of problems like these and a lot of experience,” Gonsalves added.

He said schools need to be back up and running as soon as possible.

“In the year 2050 which is 29 years from now, the child who is going to do the CPEA at 11 plus, he or she would be 40/41 years old.

“If they do not have skills, they are not going to properly survive in 2050.  Their lot would be very low incomes, there would be norm-lessness, there would be problems with their lives and their living,” the PM said while adding that in order to develop skills, you must have a sound basic education.

He said things we now do for ourselves with our hands and brains, in 2050 artificial intelligence (AI) would dominate.

“It is happening already, that machines are going to do these jobs. Artificial intelligence, the robots…already we seeing the problems of those that have missed out on the education revolution,” the Prime Minister said.