Removal of taxes on television sets must be considered since TVs now a source of learning

Dear Editor,
The COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming the functioning and outcomes of education systems—some of which were already stressed in many respects. This is true across the Guyana and affects all children, though to differing degrees depending on multiple factors—including the villages /region where they live, as well as their ages, family backgrounds, and degree of access to some “substitute” educational opportunities during the pandemic. I had a firsthand opportunity to see and highlight some of the difficulties parents and students are going through during this period while visiting so many homes in Region 10 house to house during the covid-19 relief $25,000 cash grant. The many academic challenges faced by students in Region 10 during the COVID-19 pandemic are linked to social and economic challenges. The pandemic highlighted a digital divide in Region 10 and Guyana, sparking concerns, particularly in education, of the gap. Access for student to computers and affordable, reliable internet has become a priority during and in the aftermath of the COVID -19 pandemic. Our PPP/C Government had foreseen this when they launch one laptop per family programme, which was scrape by the previous APNU/AFC visionless leaders. The new PPP/C Government and the non- profit literacy is now moving to address these issues and challenges facing students all across this nation by investing in laptops and iPads for our school children to aid virtual – learning programme.
However, the removal of duties on television set must be considered since TVs is now considered a source of learning. The lack of access to technology is an obvious imperative when lessons are being delivered digitally –is far from the only area in which economic disadvantage translates to academic
The closure of schools, compounded by the associated public health and economic crises, poses major challenges to our students and their teachers.
The 2021 school year will be underway soon, and with many schools remaining physically closed as the 2020– year end, there is more we need to understand and think through if we are to meet the crisis head-on. If students are to not see their temporary interruptions become sustained and are to regain lost ground, if teachers are to do their jobs effectively during and after the pandemic, and if our education system is to deliver on its excellence and equity goals during the next phases of this pandemic, it will be critical to identify which students are struggling most and how much learning and development they have lost out on, which factors are impeding their learning, what problems are preventing teachers from teaching these children, and, very critically, which investments must be made to address these challenges. For each child, this diagnostic assessment will deliver a unique answer, and the system will have to meet the child where he or she is. A strengthened system based on meeting children where they are and providing them with what they need will be key to lifting up our children.
Our Government must briefly review the relevant literature on educational settings that have features in common with how education is occurring during the crisis and emerging evidence on opportunity gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to propose a three-pronged plan. The plan covers the three Rs: (immediate) relief for schools, (short-term) recovery, and (long-term) rebuilding for schools and the education system as a whole., As parent when our children are not in their schools or classes what should we expect the consequences to be ?The current downturn is unique, and in most ways it is much more severe than any we have experienced in recent history. Almost overnight, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional learning that takes place in school settings. It imposed substantial alterations in the “inputs” used to produce education—typically all the individual, family, teacher, school, etc., characteristics or determinants that affect “outcomes” like test scores. The pandemic has affected inputs at home too, as families and communities juggling health and work crises are less able to provide supports for learning at home because there are no direct comparisons to past events or trends, we are without fully valid references for assessing the likely impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our children.

David Adams