The fourteenth edition of KIX Conversations had the participation of the KIX LAC representative and president of the Dominica Teachers’ Association, Mervin Alexander, who was interviewed by Fernanda del Pozo, KIX LAC researcher, who spoke about the impacts of COVID-19, the knowledge acquired and the importance of teacher training today.
Globally, COVID-19 has transformed education, and the Caribbean region has been no exception. Specifically on the island of Dominica, more than 12,337 students and more than 1,178 teachers were affected by the interruption of classes caused by the pandemic*. In this context, Alexander considers that the biggest challenge they had to face during this period was the lack of training and skills for teachers to teach online: “Although some schools were able to perform better than others, most had no idea how to teach classes virtually, added to this, and as the second most important factor that we had to face, was the lack of interconnectivity, because in Dominica, having access to Internet depends on where you are located in the country”.
In this sense, on top of the lack of interconnectivity, the shortage of equipment is added: “Although the government delivered electronic devices to students, it did not take into account also giving them to teachers, who had to work with their own cell phones or laptops to be able to teach virtual classes, and in many cases these devices were not adequate enough for this purpose”.
Alexander considers the third great challenge was the teachers’ mental health, assuring that the Association should do something about it and thus held some sessions in which the teachers were able to express themselves and talk about what they were experiencing. Later, the same teachers assured that these meetings were highly valued and that they made them feel much better.
To conclude, the president of the Teachers’ Association highlighted the resilient capacity of the country and its citizens, who despite so many environmental difficulties and the consequences of COVID-19, have managed to implement teachers training in various disciplines, especially in online education.
Re-live the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzHxp7TewJc