The Government, during this fiscal year, will be increasing the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the education sector, as part of efforts to bridge the digital divide and enhance knowledge.
This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, during the opening of an ‘ICT in Education’ capacity building workshop on Monday, April 22, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), St. Andrew.
He said that additional information on the initiative will be provided by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, during his upcoming contribution in the Budget Debate.
Minister Thwaites noted that while the focus will be on students, teachers and administrators will be required to increase their capabilities in the use of the technology to allow for effective integration.
“How it (ICT) is received and how well it is used depends very much on the outcome of capacity building among our teachers and among our administrations in education and indeed, the public at large, because the insertion is not mainly for students, although that obviously will be the main focus, but also for the entire community,” he stated.
Rev. Thwaites said the Government is committed to increasing the penetration of ICT in schools, as the prism through which quality education, transformed content and methods of delivery are going to be delivered and achieved.
“The insertion of information technology into education is not just for the higher forms but must go to the primary level and indeed wherever possible into the early childhood level, so that habits are formed and the competencies are developed,” he stated.
He noted that Jamaica has a strong ICT platform, and commended all the stakeholders, who have played a critical role in bridging the digital divide and fostering the advancement of knowledge in the island.
“This is the kind of partnership we need. The state cannot do it all; it is important that not only do we have the financial but the technical collaboration of our partners…to advance what is the most fundamental concern of the Jamaican state and the Jamaican people and that is the advancement of knowledge,” he stated.
In his remarks, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative for the Kingston Cluster Office and the Caribbean, Robert Parua, said his organisation is committed to advancing the objectives on digital inclusion; universal access to information and knowledge; and quality and education for all.
The workshop, which ends on April 25, is being organised by the Ministry in collaboration with UNESCO.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter