JIS News

The government’s e-Learning Jamaica Project is on target, with the necessary equipment and network infrastructure being put in place to enhance the teaching/learning environment.
As contained in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, the Ministry has commenced implementation of four of five components targeted in the first year of the pilot phase, which commenced in 31 educational institutions in September 2006 and will end this month.
These include the provision of necessary technology to the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) and to the schools; the development of instructional materials; providing teacher training; and performance measurement.
In terms of the provision of technology, the Ministry Paper informed that the MOEY now has a new Educational Management Information System (EMIS), thus enabling it to carry out effective administration of the education sector, and computers have been procured and installed at a cost of $50 million, using funds made available through the Technology Investment Fund.
The Ministry has identified a site for the Central Repository for Education Materials (CREM) and is procuring computers for the schools, equipment for CREM and supporting technologies. CREM will support the electronic access by the school system to educational materials. The total of $65 million will be spent on this initiative.
In the meantime, Cabinet and the National Contracts Commissions have approved a $670 million contract for the installation of networks, air-conditioning units as well as uninterrupted power supply systems in schools, and work is scheduled to begin shortly.
The document also informed that the MOEY is actively preparing the physical facilities in the schools to accommodate computers and the work involves refurbishing laboratories, grilling, and installing proper power supplies and so on. Computer desks and chairs for all schools are also being installed under a $50 million contract.
Additionally, audio-visual instructional equipment is now being supplied to schools under a contract totaling approximately $160 million. Teachers have been trained in the use of the equipment, which is being used in the pilot schools to enhance teaching and learning.
The e-Learning Project is being implemented in three phases. The first phase will accommodate 27 public high schools (including one special school), one independent high school and three teachers colleges. The other targeted institutions will be addressed in the subsequent years. Experiences from the pilot phase will inform and help guide the second phase.

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