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Education

Thousands home in Virtual School until February; Senior High only back on Monday announced TCI Education

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#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – On Thursday, the Ministry of Education announced that the majority of the 7,400 students in the TCI will remain out of classrooms until February, unless there is a satisfying drop in the Covid-19 cases.

“Coming out of our consultations with the technical advisors in the Ministry of Health and having considered all of the variables, the Ministry of Education wish to inform the public that Phase 3 of the Roadmap to return students to face to face classes will commence on Monday, 17th January.  In this phase high school students in Form 5/Grade 11 and students in Grade 12/Sixth Form will resume face to face classes. In addition, children enrolled in Day Care Centres that are registered with the Ministry of Education as Day Care Centres may continue in a face to face mode. Students in all other grades will continue virtual classes until Friday, 28th January 2022,” said Minister Rachel Taylor, who delivered the hard news in a press event Thursday (January 13) morning.

Only fifth and sixth form high school students will be back in classes on Monday (January 17) and that is primarily driven by the facts that one, these youngsters have critical exams for which to prepare and this cohort of students have the lowest Covid-19 infection rate.  All other students, over five-years-old will remain out of schools and on virtual learning.

“I would like to inform the listening public that, based on our data, the rate of infection among secondary school students is low in comparison to that of primary school children.  Hence, these findings support the Ministry of Education’s decision to return students of Form 5 and 6 to in person teaching, because we anticipate that the older students will exercise more adherence to the COVID 19 Health Protocols,” said Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education.

New, in an effort to fend off COVID, that students can be randomly tested if their parents sign off on a consent form to be provided by the MOE.

The planned antigen testing is for students returning, on January 17th, to the classroom.

“In preparation for the return of the senior students, schools will arrange classrooms to achieve maximum distance between each student. The Ministry will be seeking parental consent to test students randomly so as to maintain as safe an environment as possible for teachers and students. If a student has any flulike symptoms they must remain at home until the symptoms have subsided. If a student tests positive for Covid-19 or is a member of family where another member has been placed on quarantine, the student is to access classes online until a quarantine order release has been issued. Parents of students who will be returning to face to face classes are urged to adhere to this protocol to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

The ministry said they will repeat what happened at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, train teachers to conduct the rapid antigen tests.

“Next week, that is the week beginning January 17th, two teachers from public schools on Grand Turk, South Caicos, North and Middle Caicos will be trained to use the Antigen Test, as a result all government schools will have teachers who are equip to administer Antigen Testing.  Private Schools who are interested in having their staff trained, kindly speak to your school’s supervisor so we can see how best we can accommodate you,” said Mr. Garland.

Licensed and registered daycare centers will carry on as they have been;  open to children up to five years old.

“In addition, children enrolled in Day Care Centres that are registered with the Ministry of Education as Day Care Centres may continue in a face to face mode. Students in all other grades will continue virtual classes until Friday, 28th January 2022.”

The ministry has asked employers to work with staff who will need to manage the virtual learning of their children.

Telecoms companies:  Flow and Digicel and two resorts:  Pine Cay and Amanyara were thanked for their support in the area of internet connectivity, internet affordability, provision of devices to hundreds of children including a new investment from the Pine Cay project which supplied over $18,000 in internet services for the next 30 days for some 750 students.

All were labelled platinum partners with Education by Minister Taylor.

 

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Bahamas News

Beneath the Waves’ summer camp inspires young Bahamians to become stewards of the environment

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#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – While the waters near Great Exuma are renowned for their unmatched beauty, last weekend, more than 40 students spent a day with Beneath the Waves learning the deeper value of the marine ecosystems that surround their islands and act as a bedrock for the Bahamian economy and way of life.

As participants in the non-profit’s summer camp, the young students learned about mangrove and coral reef habitats and the many species that live among them.

They heard about some of Beneath the Waves’ research, including studies of sharks, seagrass and blue carbon, and research methods like underwater video surveys.

Coral Vita Conservancy, which has been working relentlessly to restore coral reefs off Grand Bahama, sent team member Joe Oliver , Director of Restoration Operations, to assist with the camp and provide in-depth information on corals in The Bahamas.

Team ECCO, a North Carolina-based ocean education organization, also provided in-depth lessons on invertebrates and fish.

Long after the taste of ice cream at the end-of-day party has faded, campers will remember learning how to tag a lifelike shark. And they’ll wear their camp t-shirts with pride, remembering this is the day they learned to value the water all around them and what lies beneath the waves.

Eleven-year-old twin sisters Kassidy and Kaylee Burrows described the camp as a highlight of their summer vacation.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Kassidy. “And we learned all about sponges, the water, mangroves, coral reefs — how they protect animals and how they protect the shore — and also about animals themselves, aquatic animals, for example, sea anemones, corals, sponges and sharks.”

Kassidy was especially enthused to share her experience with helping to plant new mangroves.

“We found out how mangrove seeds can actually disperse into the water,” she said.

“And I thought they were going to be small seeds, but, in my opinion, they looked like asparagus kind of.

“We also got to go in the water and plant new mangroves.”

Beneath the Waves’ scientists have been studying The Bahamas’ waters for more than a decade, having helped with the creation and management of conservation policies, including the legislation that made the country’s waters a shark sanctuary in 2011.

The non-governmental organization knows that in continuing efforts to protect The Bahamas’ greatest asset, its natural environment, community buy-in is vital.

And in that context, the value of helping young Bahamians gain these kinds of hands-on experiences and lessons, ones they’ll undoubtedly carry with them through life, can’t be overstated.

Kaylee Burrows is already brainstorming the ways she can apply what she learned in her future career.

While the mangroves piqued her sister’s interest, Kaylee said she was fascinated by coral reefs and the important role they play on a global scale, though she noted they don’t seem to be sufficiently appreciated.

“I learned that The Bahamas has some of the biggest coral reefs in the world,” she said. “We actually put pieces of coral on a pipe to help build a platform for the coral. The reason I chose coral reefs over all of the topics is because we the people of the Bahamas, don’t even recognize how important our islands are. These coral reefs are very beneficial to the whole world.”

Kaylee said she hopes to one day become a veterinarian and an author.

“As a vet, I can help not just land animals, but marine animals too,” she said. “As an author, I can write books on marine biology. I think this experience helped with my future career, and I’m forever grateful.”

Beneath the Waves Managing Director Jamie Fitzgerald said plans are underway to make the camp an annual event.

“We look forward to being able to work more closely with local schools in the islands we frequent, such as Exuma and Nassau, to develop educational materials around sharks and marine science, and to foster opportunities for internships and future careers for any aspiring Bahamian marine biologists,” Fitzgerald said.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: Hands-on experience – Exuma students planting mangroves with the help of research scientists from Beneath the Waves  — just one of the many memorable moments from the non-profit’s summer camp that was held on July 23. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

1st insert: Learning about coral — With the help of experts from Coral Vita, a Grand Bahama-based organization working to restore reefs near the island, students built plaforms for coral. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

2nd insert: More to come  – Camp leaders and participants posed with the inflatable shark, as the first of what is hoped to be many Beneath the Waves summer camps came to an end. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

 

Release: Beneath the Waves

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Supports Breastfeeding as a Long-Term Strategy for a More Productive and Healthier Region

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August 5, 2022 – Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months benefits the infant, mother, family, community, country and environment,” states Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).  “Therefore, breastfeeding is recognised as an effective strategy in achieving regional and global goals on health, nutrition, food security, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend that breastfeeding be initiated within 1 hour of birth, continued exclusively for the first 6 months of life, and that nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods be introduced at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond[1].

Early initiation of breastfeeding is critical to newborn survival, reducing their risk of morbidity and mortality[2]. Breastmilk provides optimal nutrition for infants for their physical and mental growth and development, along with antibodies to prevent and mitigate childhood illnesses[3].

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of over-nutrition (overweight and obesity) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for both mother and child. Infants that are breastfed longer, have 13% lower risk of overweight and obesity and 35% lower risk of type 2 diabetes[4]. Women who breastfeed have reduced risks of postpartum overweight and obesity, 32% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, 37% lower risk of ovarian cancer and 26% lower risk of breast cancer4.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, many infants and young children do not meet the WHO and UNICEF recommendations for breastfeeding and ultimately lose out on its many benefits. Only 54% of infants initiate breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth; 37% breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months of life which is below the global rate (44%); and between 31%-55% of children continue to receive breastmilk up to 2 years of age2.

Breastfeeding, more so when occurring exclusively, allows for healthier mothers and children who can in turn contribute meaningfully to the community and society at large. There is a reduced tax burden on communities and governments to ensure children are properly fed. Additionally, more funding is made available for community and national development. Reports indicate that the total global economic losses of not breastfeeding are estimated to be US$341.3 billion[5].

Breastfeeding is a naturally renewable resource that is environmentally sustainable as it does not require the use of natural resources (not even water!), provides no waste for accumulation in landfills (no packaging or disposal), and it does not pollute the environment[6].

Breastfeeding also contributes to infant and household food security[7]. Infants who are breastfed exclusively, require no other source of nutrition and are less likely to get sick thereby lessening the financial burden on the family. This allows for nutritious foods to be bought for other members of the family. This is especially important during times of economic crises, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many households face unemployment and loss of income. The pandemic has proven to be a global threat to breastfeeding. Two recent studies in Western countries reported a decline in early initiation, exclusive and continued breastfeeding rates due to the pandemic, with one major contributing factor being a loss in support for mothers[8],[9].

Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by transferring antibodies from the mother to the child.   Mother to child transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through breastmilk has not been found to occur. The WHO and UNICEF recommendations on initiation and continuation of breastfeeding infants and young children also apply to mothers with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease as the benefits far outweigh any potential risks[10]. Mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are encouraged to practice respiratory hygiene (wearing a mask when breastfeeding), hand hygiene (frequent hand washing, including before and after touching the baby), and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces[11]. If the mother is too unwell to breastfeed, she can be supported to feed expressed breastmilk or to relactate (re-introduce breastfeeding after a period of cessation).

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week “Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support” is aligned with thematic area 1 of the WBW-Sustainable Development Goals 2030 campaign which highlights the links between breastfeeding and good nutrition, food security and reduction of inequalities. It will focus on strengthening the capacity of actors that have to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society.

We all form part of the warm chain of support of breastfeeding – whether we are from or represent governments, health systems, workplaces or communities – and have a shared responsibility to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Let us all inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect and support breastfeeding. A whole-of-society approach is needed to facilitate the development and implementation of regional breastfeeding policies and creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment.

This is in keeping with the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) life course approach for the prevention of NCDs of which breastfeeding is a key factor.  CARPHA supports breastfeeding as a long-term strategy for a more productive and healthier Region and encourages mothers and families to see breastfeeding as the optimal feeding method for infants.

CARPHA has led training in the WHO/UNICEF 40 Hour Breastfeeding Counselling Course; and training of Health Professionals in the 20-Hour Course for Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative as well as implementation and certification.  The Agency has also supported Member States with the development of National Infant and Young Child Feeding Policies, Hospital Breastfeeding Policies and developed guidelines for anyone involved in the care and management of newborns, and pregnant or lactating women suspected of or confirmed to be infected with the COVID-19 virus.

CARPHA calls upon its member states to take a whole of society approach and implement and reinforce the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. By protecting and supporting breastfeeding, we are also protecting human rights and taking important steps towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind in the post pandemic world.

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Education

Applications for the UK Government’s Chevening Scholarships open 2 August 2022

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#UnitedKingdom, August 2, 2022 – Applications for Chevening Scholarships to study in the UK are open between 2 August and 1 November 2022, with applications to be submitted via chevening.org/apply

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to individuals from all backgrounds who can demonstrate that they have the commitment and skills required to create positive change, and can show how a UK master’s degree will help them do that. The scholarship offers full financial support for scholars to study for any eligible master’s degree at any UK university whilst also gaining access to a wide range of exclusive academic, professional, and cultural experiences.

Since the programme was created in 1983, over 50,000 professionals have had the opportunity to develop in the UK through Chevening. There are more than 1,500 scholarships on offer globally for the 2023/2024 academic year, demonstrating the UK’s ongoing commitment towards developing the leaders of tomorrow.

H.E. Nigel Dakin said:

‘If you are someone who is passionate about driving change, whether on a local or global scale, if you want to be the best at what you do and if you have the imagination to inspire others, then a Chevening scholarship could be the perfect opportunity for you. 

‘There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ scholar. Your age, race, gender, religion and cultural background do not matter to us. We want to see that you have energy, curiosity, compassion a clear vision for your future and the ability to achieve your goals. If this sounds like you, then you are very likely to fit in with the community of over 50,000 alumni worldwide.

‘Our alumni network is full of dynamic influencers who have shared the same experience that you will. They can offer encouragement, mentorship, advice, and contacts. When you return home after your studies you should feel well-equipped to start making a real difference professionally or socially.

‘There is a lot to gain from submitting a thoughtful application, so if you have what it takes to be a Chevening Scholar, I would encourage you to apply before the 1 November deadline.’

 The call for new applicants follows the selection of Mrs. Gessie Herilien scholar from Turks & Caicos, who won an award to study at a UK university this year.

 

More information

Visit chevening.org/scholarships for detailed information on the eligibility criteria and scholarship specifications.

Contact
Neville Misick – Chevening Officer

Telephone: 649 232 1521 or 649 946 2308/9

Email: Neville.misick@fcdo.gov.uk

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