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Minister recommends ‘harsh penalties’ for blatantly bad-behaving online students

Minister for Education Dr Natalio Wheatley is recommending harsh penalties for local students who display severely bad behaviour during online classroom sessions.

Dr Wheatley made that statement during a broadcast on Sunday, May 31; noting that some cases of online misbehaviour online had been reported to him and his ministry.

“In a minority of instances, we have been receiving reports of poor behaviour during online instruction, and I need to say that I will not tolerate disrespect for teachers and the other students,” he said.

“We have support systems in place for those who need counselling and other types of assistance, but we must have a high standard for conduct in our schools and society as a whole. I am, therefore, recommending harsh penalties for our most blatant offenders,” the minister added.

 Dr Wheatley also encouraged students to use good judgement when attending their online classes and urged parents to ensure that their children display the appropriate behaviour when engaging in online learning.

Up to publication time, the minister had not yet responded questions in relation to how the students were misbehaving.

CPEA and Keystage Exams cancelled

In other reports on local schooling, Dr Wheatley said he has decided to cancel the 2020 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) and Keystage exams due to the effects of COVID-19 on the education sector,

“This was a difficult decision to make, but I carefully considered the strain that has been placed teachers, parents and students in adjusting to online education. I also had to consider the fact that there are some young people who still do not have the tools to properly function,” he said.

“Though online education is working for many of our students, teachers have a challenge in ensuring students are always completely focused during lessons,” the minister explained.

Students to be promoted by continuous assessment

Dr Wheatley, who is also a former educator, said that with the two aforementioned exams now cancelled, students will be promoted to a higher grade at the end of this academic school year through a continuous assessment methodology.

He said this will include projects, investigations, book reports, quizzes, classwork and kinesthetic assessments. 

“These assessments will be dispersed throughout the term and many have already been conducted,” the minister explained. “This term will only be weighted as 20 percent of the students’ overall grade for the 2019-2020 academic year, with the advent and lent terms accounting for 40 pecent each.”

All Graduations to be held virtually

In the meantime, Dr Wheatley also announced that Cabinet has decided that all graduations scheduled for 2019/2020 academic school year will be conducted virtually.

“This includes all schools, both public and private, no matter the level of student or the size of the class. This is being done to keep the population safe as we navigate this COVID-19 era,” he said.

Dr Wheatley said further guidance on the graduation requirements and ceremonies will be revealed soon.


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  1. 2020 graduation virtual says:

    This government here jokey on skme things. There is enough open space in the BVI to hold graduations. Come on man think outside the box for once

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  2. well says:

    I think it was to soon to decide on graduation. The government looking at the US. Our graduations were slated for June not May. They could have waited it out and ever find ways to have a social distancing ceremony.

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