Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, says that efforts must be made to integrate computer technology into school curricula, to improve educational relevance and student learning outcomes, instead of simply focusing on CXC IT examination passes.
In an address to hundreds of participants at the Caribbean Institute of Technology’s ICT Awareness Day Expo at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, Tuesday February 8, read by Jamaica Defence Force Colonel, Dr. Rocky Meade, the Minister noted that the use of technology has been identified as a cost-effective and efficient way to enliven the learning process, given the novel effect of its presence in the classroom.
“Our research tells us that both teachers and students perform better in the classroom using technology,” Mr. Holness said.
He explained that the use of technology has improved the confidence and competence of teachers in the delivery of the curriculum, and students are reported to be more attentive and interested in Maths, Language Arts and Science, when technology is used in the delivery. Children, in a recent survey, suggested that it is ‘much more fun to learn and explore with technology, than when the teacher just talks”, he pointed out.
He alluded to past observations that boys found the use of technology particularly engaging, and participated more frequently and completely in learning activities which are technology-based.
He said that this finding is of great significance to the Ministry of Education, as it grapples with the problem of underachievement and under-participation of boys in the classroom.
“If we can better engage boys in learning, improve their performance and keep them in school we will improve our society, the minister noted.
He also revealed that the Ministry of Education was working closely with partners to empower students and teachers, to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology.
He added that, recognizing the role that technology played in education and training, the Ministry has taken steps to ensure its integration in the teacher-learner interaction, by utilizing technology and tools to enrich aspects of the learning environment.
Mr. Holness said that more than 170 high schools have been outfitted with computers, scanners, digital cameras, televisions, multi-media projectors and screens by the E-learning Jamaica project.
“This enhancement of the teaching-learning process is most necessary in a context where, globalization and technological changes have created a highly competitive world economy powered by technology, fueled by information and driven by knowledge,” Mr. Holness said.
He congratulated the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT) for its achievements over the 12 years of its existence, and encouraged them to continue to assist in positioning Jamaica as the leading ICT provider locally, regionally and internationally.
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