Thursday, January 13, 2022

The politics of distance education in The Bahamas

CoViD-19 has accelerated the institution of schooling via Internet platforms on a national level in The Bahamas

By Dennis Dames

Education Bahamas
I see that the politics of remote learning is not keeping pace with the reality of it all. Indeed, virtual learning is a new cultural pill that many reluctant Bahamian parents will have to swallow, and adjust to eventually.

CoViD-19 has awakened the world to the great possibility that schooling as we know it today, will be done more from home – than in the classroom, in the not too distant future- in my view. That’s something that every parent with children of school age, need to bear in mind.

There are presently political decisions being considered in The Bahamas and elsewhere about the question of school opening; even though CoViD19 is raging- and no one can say for sure - what the impact of future CoViD19 variants will be on communities of the world.

Remote Learning
The madness continues nonetheless. Every visionary and pragmatic politician in this universe - ought to be planning and preparing their population for a revolution in education – outside of the classroom setting- in my opinion. Instead of catering to political correctness in education, the focus should be on the new normal and actuality of distance learning.

With the advent of the Internet, the process should of started a long time ago – in my humble opinion. CoViD19 simply exposed our serious weaknesses and deficiencies in public education of The Bahamas. Children have computers at home to play games and flirt all day with, but they do not have any for educational purposes. It’s truly a mad world.

Online Education
Parents want schools to reopen, because the majority of them are only looking for babysitters – in my opinion. The performances of our public school graduates prove this. Our children wear the best clothing to proms, but most of them can’t even write a proper or readable sentence- after twelve years of education in the public school system of The Bahamas. More and more chickens are coming home to roost, as we unwittingly burn in the fire of social and political bankruptcy - and stupidity.

Homeschooling in The Bahamas has been growing productively for more than twenty years. There are many Bahamian children who have never sat in a school classroom in their life, and the very most of them are better educated than those who have. I have read about one young lady who won a Lyfordcay Foundation Scholarship. Yes, a homeschooler who might be sitting in a classroom for the first time - in a prestigious university somewhere.

Learning can be done anywhere - even in one’s backyard. But our children for the most part, are not programmed or encouraged to learn. They are allowed to roam the streets in mass numbers all day and night long – from young ages. The culture is all about friends, play and the good old gang life – while the parents do their things all day and night- in the web shops, bars, drug houses and so on.

So, open the schools for their children while the mutating CoViD19 variants keep coming to our shores. Open the schools while the hospitals overflow with CoViD19 emergencies. Open the schools while CoViD19 spreads like wildfire in the Bahamian society. Let’s proudly show the world exactly how stupid we and our politicians are.

The focus should be on the question of: How can we successfully facilitate the new culture of digital learning and training - for the sustainable benefits of all Bahamian children, and adults. First, there needs to be a clear national resolve to institute e-learning for the lasting rewards of every school child and adult in The Bahamas.

Digital Education
Remote education in The Bahamas for all - can be supported by programs like, Urban Renewal; which is presently underutilized, but has enormous potential to have enduringly positive influences on Bahamian communities - in so many valuable and meaningful ways.

A lot of the unemployed in our country can also be usefully employed in the noble effort of the institution of distance learning in the entire Bahamas; while also taking advantage of golden opportunities to acquire other gainful skills through free digital instructions.

CoViD-19 has accelerated the institution of schooling via Internet platforms on a national level in The Bahamas. Many private schools are already in the grove of mixing classroom instructions with distance Web based classes; and have successfully implemented alternative days for respective students to attend in-class learning.

The public education system needs to get its act in order. We know of the many social challenges which make this difficult -like: poverty, single parenthood, dysfunctional communities and so on.

Virtual Learning
That’s where fostering and maintaining strong community partnerships come in. In can be done, as the infrastructure to make it happen - is already in place. We have the Church congregations, Urban Renewal Program, community policing, social services, the local business establishments, and idle volunteers who are willing and qualified to make their good contributions to the worthy initiative.

We have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that all Bahamian children receive top notch education and training - for the future development of the nation. CoViD19 should not cause us to lose sight of such a noble virtue.

Online Schooling
Teachers need family and community help in encouraging our children in the public school system to embrace and, take advantage of remote schooling. Teachers should not be looking for students who are delinquent in their attendance of distance classes - in the public school system. That’s a family and community function. Someone in position of trust and responsibility- should be in contact the teacher and school - instead. I am not one who is apathetic about parental and community carelessness, abuse, and neglect of the welfare of our future - the children.

There is no sound reason why every child in The Bahamas who is able to - is not regularly attending virtual classes - when in session. None!

Away with the pitiful apathy, and let’s get it right for the sake of future generations. We have the means and resources available to us in The Bahamas - to ensure that every child receives their just education entitlement.

Embrace E-learning
Great heaps of public funds are wasted every year on bogus contracts, political patronage, theft, reckless government decisions and spending. Let’s commit to arrest the massive wastages of the people’s money, so that we can generate the necessary funding to support the further advancement of virtual education for every child in The Bahamas.