Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, on tour of the exhibits at BTEC. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Education Sector Enhancement Programme (ESEP), familiarly known as EDUTECH??is about more than numbers.

So says this country’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he outlined the country’s performance with Information Communication Technology (ICT).

He was at the time addressing the launch of the Barbados Technology in Education Conference (BTEC) and Exhibition at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.??Minister Jones said: "The objectives of the Education Sector Enhancement Programme included ???Improved outcomes at the primary and secondary schools levels’ and ???Improvement in the range and relevance of skills acquired by school-leavers during the period of schooling’.??

"While not yet definitively linked to the implementation of the ESEP, it is a fact that the proportion of the student population scoring less than 30 per cent in the Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination decreased from 27.33 per cent in 2000 to 14.83 per cent by 2010."

In a similar vein, the Education Minister said: "While again not unquestionably correlated, there has been an increase in the proportion of students sitting and passing four or more Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate subjects; from 48.64 per cent in 2000 to 62.45 per cent in 2010. If that is extended to those passing one or more, that number rises to over 70 per cent."

Those gathered also heard there were many areas that suggested ESEP had performed well.?? "I would not be painting a full picture if I provided the score sheet and said nothing more," Mr. Jones added.??

Stressing that Barbados’ performance as it related to Information Communication Technology (ICT) had been impressive, he said: "As reported by the Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 on Latin America and the Caribbean, Barbados ranks 35th for networked readiness, 31st for its ICT-friendly environment, 26th in its regulatory framework and 28th for infrastructure components and 17th for individual usage."

Minister Jones revealed too that International Telecommunication Unit statistics for the year 2000 had noted 28,467 mobile cellular subscriptions on the island but by 2005 this rose to 206,190 and by the end of 2010 to 350,061. Calling this phenomenal against the backdrop that Barbados’ population was about 280,000, he contended that this contrasted with a change from 123,832 fixed lines in 2000 to 137,486 over the same 10-year period.

It was also noted that over the same period,Internet usage rose from 3.97 per cent of the population in 2000 to 70.2 per cent.?? The Minister pointed out that with respect to the social network "49.7 per cent of Barbadians or 143,000 persons use Face book; placing Barbados in the top 50 of 213 ranked countries in the world".

The BTEC workshop and exhibition components opened today to over 300 participants comprising educators, school children and the general public. It runs until Saturday, March 17, under the theme: Transforming Barbadian Education: Learning Powered Through Technology.


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