JIS News

State Minister for Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd, has said that the national E-Learning project was designed to enhance student learning in preparation for the world of work.
Dr. Rhodd, who was making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 28, explained that the project was aimed at improving the quality of education in the country’s 55 secondary schools, and to also boost the performance of teachers and students from grades seven to 11.
“Cabinet has since approved the project to be implemented over three years, with the first year being a pilot phase involving 20 schools. The other 135 schools would be addressed in years two and three. The findings from the pilot phase will inform the second phase,” he informed members of the House.
The State Minister said the E-Learning project would seek to address five specific constraints that negatively impacted the quality education. These are: lack of a standard instructional materials for teachers and students; lack of a proper Educational Management Information System (EMIS) to facilitate effective administration in the education sector; the low level skill of some teachers in utilising interactive software to stimulate interest among students; inadequate remedial programme at grade seven; and the lack of a standard system of measuring performance at each grade.
The E-Learning project is a collaborative undertaking between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, and the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology.
According to Dr. Rhodd, it was imperative for the project to produce concrete results in its first year of implementation operation and that the Ministry “be brought as quickly as possible to the point where it is using information and communication technologies in all its internal processes as well as its interactions with the school system”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rhodd informed that the Ministry was conducting an inventory of ICT capacity in schools, to effectively address technology needs.
The inventory, which will be web-based, is slated for the end of January 2006. The contract for needs assessment is valued at $9 million, and has been awarded to a consortium formed by the Jamaica Computer Society Foundation.
“This Foundation has the requisite skills and experience in the field and they have been asked to provide information on hardware, software, facilities, skills, projects and programmes in the system,” the State Minister informed.