Expect Another Tough School Year In Nevis
New and returning teachers on Nevis are being urged to prepare for another challenging school year as schools are scheduled to open shortly in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak on the island and the wider Federation.
On Monday, August 30, 2021, officials with the Department and Ministry of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) hosted a virtual convocation for the upcoming opening of the academic year 2021/2022. The ceremony was held at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC).
Ms. Zahnela Claxton, Principal Education Officer (PEO), said in addition to the usual challenges in the classrooms, educators will now have to deal with teaching in the face of the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases on the island.
“This year we are here physically at a venue with hardly any of the seats filled, addressing you our colleagues who are in your various spaces logged in to our ceremony, cognizant of our reality- the reality of the daily rising positive cases; over 100 active cases and the opening of schools is afoot.
“I do not doubt that our current situation has brought increased anxiety for all of you, as we know that schools have the potential to be super-spreaders. As expressed last week the intention is to open schools physically and we have been told we have to learn to live with this virus. My advice to you is to take every precaution to protect yourselves, your families and our nation’s children,” she stated.
The theme for the 2021/2022 academic year is “Education for the Future: Ready, Set, Go!”
Ms. Claxton expressed confidence that educators and supporting staff would once again rise to the occasion and deliver a quality education to the children of Nevis amid the challenges of the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic reached us and forced us to make several changes in a short amount of time…While the rest of the world made changes incrementally, we are faced with the reality of making many changes at once -not in the hope of catching up, but with the hope that we can effectively cater for the needs of our diverse learners.
“As a system, we were pushed in a direction and had no choice but to run. The latest developments though, have and will only serve to benefit the children in the short, medium and long term…We have seen remarkable strides being made in our classrooms across the island and we are proud of educators who gave of their best and kept an open mind when the odds were against them…Whatever comes we will have a mindset of success and growth and we will work in the best interest of our students. Welcome back colleagues; I look forward to running this school year with you,” she said.
The PEO explained that as they aim to prepare students for the future, new strategies intended to enhance the student and teacher experience will be incorporated in the curriculum starting this new school year.
She said there will be significant changes in the delivery of Early Childhood Education, the importance of parent and community engagement will be emphasized, as will the Child Friendly School model, along with Diagnostic and Balanced Assessment.