State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, says the Government is investing heavily in technology, so that young Jamaicans can be on par with persons in other countries.
Speaking at the e-Learning network installation and handing over at the Steer Town Academy, in St. Ann, on July 5, the State Minister noted that investment in technology for schools is in the billions of dollars.
“We have not just provided computer labs, we have trained teachers. We have provided content and we have ensured that schools have access to the technology and to high speed Internet,” he added.
Mr. Robinson said the Government is spending on technology to ensure that “we bridge what is called the ‘digital divide’.”
“We want to ensure that every student, regardless of your socio-economic status, if you can’t afford to have a computer at home, you can access it at school or you can access it at the Community Access Points (CAPs), in the post office, or in the library. That is important, because we want students and youngsters to have access to all the educational tools,” the State Minister said.
He emphasized that equipping schools with computers is empowering students to have wider access to knowledge, other than that which is garnered in the classrooms, and pointed out that children and others can do their own research from the Internet for crucial information and education.
Mr. Robinson said books are very expensive, with the Education Ministry spending some $1 billion on text books every year, and parents have to purchase them also.
“We want to ensure that the technology can be used to substitute for some of those books, because the same knowledge that is in the text books can be found online, so when we provide computer tablets, we don’t want you to e-mail your friends and family, we want you to use the tool as a way of improving your education,” he urged the students.
Since 2006, the e-Learning Project has provided a range of educational resources to assist in the preparation of students in 11 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects. The project has also trained over 11,000 teachers to maintain the networks.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Regional Office (Montego Bay)