Education ministry sets up ICT steering committee

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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The education, youth and information ministry has established a steering committee to examine and develop an information and communications technology (ICT) plan for the education sector.

Director of regional educational services in the ministry, Captain Kasan Troupe, said the plan will incorporate all levels of the education system, “from early childhood straight through to the tertiary level”.

She indicated that as part of the plan, “we're looking at restructuring the programmes of study for our teachers (in training) to make sure they come with that skill set”.

“We are aware that, currently, some teachers are very fearful about using technology, [but] the children are ready and anxious and they are denied that sometimes because of that fear, so we're looking at fixing that,” Troupe added.

She was speaking to JIS News at a function at Pembroke Hall Primary School in St Andrew on Friday to observe International Literacy Day 2017 under the theme 'Literacy in a Digital World'.

Additionally, Troupe said that all schools will be examined “to determine the basic set of equipment required to operate at a certain level, and that technological devices are made available”.

She noted that the ministry has provided some institutions with funding to equip their computer laboratories and establish virtual learning environments.

Meanwhile, Troupe noted that Jamaica's national literacy rate continues to rise and now stands at 86.7 per cent, but more work is needed in the area of numeracy.

“We're generally below where we want to be in numeracy, but literacy has been improving incrementally, annually. We're really proud of what we have been doing,” she said.

In his International Literacy Day Message to the nation, Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid implored Jamaicans to seek opportunities to promote and commit to the advancement of literacy at all levels.

Reid — whose message was read by education officer in the Primary Unit in Region One, Ewan Williams — urged all stakeholders to work to sustain the achievements made in literacy, and to continue to make advancements so that every child and adult in the country will become even more literate.

National Literacy Coordinator Dr André Hill, for his part, noted that technology should not only be a means for entertainment, but should be a catalyst to empower the nation to become a truly literate society.

In her message in observance of International Literacy Day, director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector are essential to promote literacy in a digital world.

— JIS

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