|Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones|
Barbados is not among those countries which have failed to benefit from the advancements technology offers.
This was intimated last evening by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the Barbados Technology in Education Conference (BTEC) and Exhibition, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
While identifying barriers that limit countries’ ability to take advantage of technology and lead to the ???digital divide’, Minister Jones said: "The principle challenge for those countries was internet access. Others include teacher preparation, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment."
Describing the Barbados situation and the accrued benefits, Mr. Jones revealed, among other things, that 56 of the 77 schools, or 73 per cent, included in the restructured Education Sector Enhancement Programme (ESEP), familiarly known as EDUTECH, had been completed.
He added that another 38 primary schools had been provided with enhanced security to one or two rooms to facilitate the installation and storage of equipment, while preparatory work on another 16 primary schools had commenced to facilitate upgrade for improved teaching and learning.
"High-speed internet connectivity, that is, Frame Relay/ADSL connectivity has been provided to all schools during the course of implementation," Minister Jones stressed, while adding that his Ministry was "in the process of undertaking a comprehensive upgrade, moving all schools to either Metro E or wireless solutions".
Those gathered also heard that nearly 6,000 computers were being utilised in the school system with practically every education officer, principal and teacher allocated a laptop for administrative and pedagogical use. It was also noted that through the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, the Ministry and a number of private institutions, approximately 3,000 teachers had received training in learner-centred curriculum, technology mastery and integration of ICT into the curriculum.
The Minister, a former teacher himself, disclosed to the audience that given the scope, scale and complexity of the education sector, an Education Management Information System (EMIS) for both primary and secondary schools had been put into operation.
He further noted that a Project Monitoring Information System would soon be implemented which would enable "rapid evaluation of progress in relation to education indicators, such as student performance".
Over 300 participants comprising educators, representatives of Government, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector witnessed the launch of BTEC 2012, which is expected to run until Saturday, March 17.
It is being held under the theme: Transforming Barbadian Education: Learning Powered Through Technology.