An education task force was formed in an effort to plan the way forward for education in Belize. Now this task force is charged primarily with formulating a proposal to safely reopen schools across the country. No doubt, the mandate of such a task force is a much needed one, as our nation’s children have been out of school since March of 2020, making it almost a year to date.
As the pandemic forced schools shut, the teachers all across this country immediately swung into action to ensure that our children were kept meaningfully engaged. To date, teachers have steadily and consistently answered every call and adapted to every change since, simply to ensure that our future is being watered and nurtured. This then forced teachers, students and parents alike to adjust to the times and pool their collective resources together for the betterment of the children of our country.
Then parents too have had to make a 360-degree turn! Arguably, the paradigm shifted most significantly under parents’ feet. They have had to add a new role to their already expansive repertoire and have now become teachers. One cannot dispute the fact that without fair warning or ample time for adjustments, parents were thrusted into the teacher’s chair and now find themselves utilizing the resources the teachers send to instruct their own children along pedagogical lines.
It’s such a beautiful thing to see that it took an entire pandemic to allow for school, community and the family to work together in partnership so as to ensure our future will continue to bloom brightly. It is in this same spirit of partnership that the Ministry of Education saw it fit to collaborate with all stakeholders to formulate a body tasked with getting our children back in school. This is important, as it will level the plateau between teachers, parents and students.
But is this even possible right now? In this current climate, given the still steady cases of COVID-19 infections, how do we reasonably reopen schools with little to no risk to our beloved teachers and our treasured children who are the jewels of this land? Well, while the task force continues to plan and deliberate, a learned writer could only in good reason assume that the reopening of schools anytime soon is not going to be the most prudent thing to do where health and safety are concerned.
But in another light, it is something that absolutely needs to be done. Given the modality and the methodology employed to keep children engaged, home- based activities cannot substitute for or replace school-based learning. It is as simple as that. Therefore, in order to ensure that our children are receiving pound-for-pound pedagogical instruction, the reopening of schools is paramount.
So, how can we in good reason, while maintaining health and safety as top priority, reopen schools? Well, in my mind, the answer to that is simple. We cannot reopen schools unless all teachers and students have been inoculated! It’s as clear-cut as that. To seek to reopen schools having not exercised prudence in inoculating all teachers and students is seriously putting the country’s future at risk.
Teachers are craving for schools to be reopened. Parents are clamoring for schools to be reopened. The children wait in fervent anticipation for schools to be reopened. The country knows that schools need to be reopened. It’s something that we all want and desire to happen, and to happen as soon as possible. But let’s be prudent about it and allow greater reasoning to prevail. The idea is this: whenever the vaccine is made readily available in the country, seek earnestly to have teachers and students inoculated so that we may be able to safely reopen schools. Our country’s future depends on it!
Unchained Reflections Of a Liberal Pragmatist.