Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Betty Alleyne-Headley, examining the technology in the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology’s new Media Resource Centre. In the background is the SJPI Principal, Ian Drakes. (Photo: SJPI)

The recently modernised and digitised library at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI) is being regarded by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training as fully supporting government’s national plan of action to deconstruct and reconstruct systems throughout government, as it moves towards digitising the entire public service.

This view was conveyed to the Board of Management and staff of the SJPI last Friday, when the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Betty Alleyne-Headley, addressed the launch ceremony of the institution’s new Media Resource Centre (MRC), in the SJPI’s auditorium.

Mrs. Alleyne-Headley stressed: “Advancing digitisation of Government services and access to information will allow for greater efficiency, ease of doing business and accessing educational information by all of our students and other stakeholders. The focus of the SJPI, and by extension the Ministry of Education, must therefore be to reform and develop our educational system that is responsive to the needs of the 21st century.”

She noted the transformation of the library to the MRC would enhance the teaching/learning environment to support a digital, literate workforce; provide further digital and technological linkages to the instructional practices in the classroom; and promote continued collaboration between the Institute and its post-secondary partners, such as the Barbados Community College and the Barbados Vocational Training Board.

While pointing out that the Ministry’s intention was to ensure all learners were prepared for work and career pathways that are currently taking place, she acknowledged SJPI’s ongoing modernisation efforts amid a climate of limited resources but challenged Principal Ian Drakes and his team to test their creativity and innovation and show the Ministry how this could positively be achieved.

Mrs. Alleyne-Headley also observed that in addition to the modernisation of its plant, the SJPI was strengthening its foundational skills of numeracy and literacy at the secondary level with the introduction of the City and Guilds examination in Mathematics and English.

Explaining that these alternate examinations begin with a diagnostic test and provide a flexible opportunity for certification, she said it was envisaged that a greater number of learners would enter post-secondary institutions or work with skills required to problem solve, a necessary component in the attainment of digital and technological skills.

It was also noted that at present 3,000 students from seven secondary schools had accessed this examination, as well as students from the Youth Advanced Corps.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary urged the users of the media resource centre to take care of its facilities and respect SJPI’s property, whether they were enjoying the comforts of the internet café, taking a study break in the lounge area or borrowing laptops and computers for use on campus or in the facility itself.

“I am sure that you are aware of the economic impact of the pandemic on the economies of small island developing states, such as Barbados, and the effort it takes to provide a quality education. Focus on your studies and a leave a legacy of excellence,” she advised.

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