The People’s National Congress Reform has lauded the efforts by the Education Ministry in the recent launching of the Educational Television Broadcasting Service which was officially launched on April 1st.
However, the Party stated that while this initiative may have been a well intended feature in the education system, there are too many unanswered questions. Therefore the Party is calling on the Ministry to revisit the programme content-and guide, especially since senior officials of the Ministry, who should be integrally involved, are not quite au fait with the project profile.
Party’s member of Parliament Cheryl Sampson recently stated that the officers cannot even provide information about the ‘aims and objectives’ of the project.
“It seems that any information required must be gotten from the Office of the President…who is really responsible for ETBS, Office of the President or Ministry of Education”, Ms Sampson said.
Sampson pointed to the fact that Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P., in his capacity as the Leader of the Opposition, asked that the project profile be made available for scrutiny at the level of the National Assembly. However, according to Sampson, this request was never granted
“ When the programme content of ETBS was being finalised, it was intended that programming should be from 09:00 hours to 23:00 hours, but by the time it was launched the President had challenged the operators to provide a 24 hours service”. To This Ms. Sampson said there is not enough programme content available for a 24 hours service at this initial stage.
Ms. Sampson added that anyone who has been looking carefully at the programmes on Channel 80 would realise that, as usual, the Ministry of Education has started yet another programme before it is ready.
“One has to understand the haste in finalising this project…yes this is an election year and the Minister of Education must be able to boast that he has done this and done that…but what is the use of boasting about the number of things done in Education, when it is not properly done”.
She added that the programme content leaves much to be desired as there has not been proper planning for the acquisition of the local lessons which should be done in sequence. “It is unacceptable for a camera crew just show up in a classroom, without any notice to the teacher. Yes this might be a good teacher of a particular subject, but someone should have the courtesy of informing that teacher that his or her lesson will be taped”.
Ms. Sampson added that having taped the lesson, the teacher is then told that he/she must prepare another sixty lessons for the programmes. “There was no discussion of a contract to prepare these lessons or what the remuneration will be…to make matters worse the teachers who were featured on the opening programme were not even told that they would be on air”.
It has also been noted that on a daily basis a number of the old television programmes, quizzes, debates and mathematics lessons are being repeated. “This clearly indicates that there was not enough planning for the lessons to be aired, there should have been a number of lessons prepared and ready for presentation in order to have a smooth flow”.
The PNC/R Member of Parliament further questioned who is really benefitting from these programmes that are currently being aired.
“When the programme guide is analyzed, one wonders who are really seeing these programmes, are these programmes being aired via television in the various schools?
“Are these programmes replacing the classroom curriculum? When we ‘sing along nursery rhymes’ at 09:00 hours and ‘we can count’ is aired at 09:15, who is really benefitting from these programmes, the children in schools or those at home?, Sampson questioned.
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