JIS News

Thirty-five schools across the island today (Oct. 26) received a boost to their computer skills training programmes through the donation of 300 Dell computers by the Caribbean Classic Golf Invitational, and RISARC Foundations.
The computer distribution programme is a charity of the annual Caribbean Classic Golf Invitational, which recently had its third tournament in Montego Bay. Through this charity principals of primary schools were presented with certificates to receive the computers. Last year, the charity donated 200 computers to 25 primary schools in Jamaica.
RISARC is a healthcare consulting firm, offering an array of hospital consulting services. The company has expanded to include as part of its services, systems solutions, merging industry experience with technology, and it now offers several systems solution modules internationally.
In his address at the handing over ceremony, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel this morning, Prime Minister, the Hon.
Bruce Golding emphasized the importance of using computer technology to improve lesson delivery, in a standard form.
He noted that the ongoing e-learning programme would incorporate such a concept. “It is unfair to some of our kids, if their ability is so dependent on the quality of the teachers that they have. If you have the aptitude for biology, and you happen to be at a school where you don’t have a good biology teacher, well God help you,” he said.
Mr. Golding said it was therefore important to augment teacher capacity, and improve and standardize the quality of lesson delivery, “and then position the teacher in that important role of being the facilitator”.
The Prime Minister further said that much more needs to be done to get more computers in schools, and thus the decision was taken by Cabinet earlier this week to approve a large contract that will put computers and internet access in all public libraries across the island.
President of RISARC and CCCGI foundation, Richard Stephenson, told the gathering that, “The language of technology is computers.if our children, our work force, do not speak that language fluently, make no mistake about it, we are going to be left behind. That is the reason why we are starting at the primary level”.
According to Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, who also addressed the function, the 2006 statistics show that there are 9,203 functional computers in the country’s education system.
Seventy-nine per cent of these are in schools, 47 per cent of which were in secondary schools, 16 per cent in primary, and 10 per cent in All-Age schools. Mr. Holness said 73 per cent of all computers were in labs, while the remainder was distributed throughout the administration departments in schools. However, 22 per cent (2, 543) of the computers were non-functional.
In addition, 61 per cent of teachers said they could use a computer and 40 per cent had some form of certification in using the computer. Meanwhile, 61 per cent said they were able to use a computer and teach the use of it.

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