The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers is pleased to see that the ministry has finally started a virtual school for children who are vulnerable, or who have vulnerable members of the family residing with them. This is definitely a step in the right direction in the protection of our young ones and their vulnerable family members.
The union, however, also feels that this practice is discriminatory against those cautious parents who have opted to keep their children home despite their not having a vulnerable status to show. These parents have opted to keep their children at home as a precautionary measure given that the government is not enforcing mandatory attendance. Yet, these parents are also being made to bear the brunt of their decision as their children are being precluded from attending virtual classes, as these have been made available only to those who can present evidence of vulnerability of the children themselves, or their families residing with them.
In brief, these parents are being told, without half trying to sound sympathetic, that if their children are not attending school, they will not be provided with the quality education everyone else is being promised, inviting them to throw their caution to the wind if they want their children to benefit from educational services. If these children fall behind, just because their parents do not wish to expose their children unnecessarily to a pandemic which is threatening the well-being and life of many worldwide, the government is not taking on any responsibility. In other words, you can keep your children home this year, and you will not be fined for doing that, but that is as far as the ministry intends to go at this point in time.
Also, the ministry seems to have overlooked the fact that there are many students not attending school who are in secondary school. Virtual classes will only be held for primary school students, thus secondary school students currently staying at home will continue to miss out on any educational opportunities.
Yet again, we are witnessing half-baked measures on the part of a ministry, which brags about an inch given way too late, when there is still a foot to go.