From September all primary schools in the Territory will be provided with the same level of technology the eight schools enjoyed during the last school year ICT (Information and Communication Technology) pilot program.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn during his remarks at the Professional Development Day for Educators on Monday, 22 August disclosed that the full ICT programme will be rolled out in all primary schools this September.
Minister Walwyn announced that an additional 248 laptops have already been purchased, and are already in the hands of the ICT instructors. “This has allowed us to now have 350 laptops for our students in Grade 5. We are already planning for the further expansion of this programme to our Grade 6 students for the 2017/2018 school year,” he said.
The Education Minister announced that this school year his Ministry has put in place an itinerant IT unit to work with all schools and as well as service providers – Digicel and Flow and the Department of Information and Technology – to ensure that they have the wireless infrastructure and the bandwidth needed for the teaching and learning process.
“Our ICT programme is not a computer course in isolation, but it is designed for students to use these computers across all subjects, connecting the use of today’s technology in their learning. In the same vein, we will be working on improving the classrooms for the lower secondary classes as we replace the traditional blackboards with Promethean Boards,” Hon. Walwyn said.
He added, “It is our intention to replace all traditional blackboards with Promethean Boards in our secondary schools over the next three years.”
The Minister further mentioned that 20 Promethean Boards are available for roll out to Grade seven in the secondary schools starting this September. Members of the itinerant IT unit have already received training from Promethean Company on the proper use and integration of these boards in the teaching and learning process.
During the 2014/2015 Trinity term the ICT programme was introduced for one year and conducted in the Alexandrina Maduro Primary, Ebenezer Thomas Primary, Joyce Samuel Primary, Ivan Dawson Primary, Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary, Jost Van Dyke Primary, Claudia Creque Educational Centre and Isabella Morris Primary School.
In February 2015, when the pilot programme was announced, Hon. Walwyn explained the aim of the initiative during a statement to the House of Assembly. He said: “The objectives of this programme is to integrate or infuse ICT into the primary curriculum in order to enhance the teaching and learning of pre-existing subjects; change the culture of the use of ICT in the classroom and, by extension, the education system; provide a variety of resources to enhance the teaching skills and learning abilities; increase accessibility to children with disabilities; improve confidence in the use of ICT for students and teachers, and promote new behaviours for teaching. The teachers of the Grade 5 classes will be facilitated and supported by designated ICT teachers.”