surinenglish

THE BOTTOM LINE

Six months wasted

Prefabricated classrooms have not been installed, nor have more spaces (where they exist) been made available to give students and teachers more space. More teachers haven't been hired either to have more classes taking place simultaneously, and thus lower the ratio and guarantee safe interpersonal distances.

It wouldn't have been easy, but it wouldn't have been impossible either. But the fact is they've not even tried to do any of those things. They've decided that it won't happen and that decision has its logic.

Lowering the ratio in classrooms would not only have been an invaluable way of reducing the risk of contagion, but it would also have decisively helped to provide a better standard of education after half a year with students in the dry dock.

They haven't done it, not because it's unfeasible, but because the regional Ministry of Education would have been left in an uncomfortable position. What absurd argument would they have had to concoct in order not to keep these standards up once the health crisis was over? Breaking your back just to create a problem further down the line is not good business. For that reason they believe it's better to leave things just as they are.

Classes will start with the same number of classrooms and teachers as they had on 14 March, when the schools were closed and everyone was sent home. Six months have passed and the children will return to the same place they left. Not even with a few simple partitions between chairs. This is even more incomprehensible. The screens are easily removable. They make no commitment to the quality of education in the future.

If the classrooms have to be emptied again, there are no plans for a remote learning plan to prevent 2020 from being a completely lost year. Everything will again depend on the goodwill of the teachers, those who have it, and the efforts of the families.

They have had six months to organise getting everyone back in the classroom. They have done nothing.