Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said that significant progress has been made under the e-Learning Project in delivering technology to schools.
He informed that the e-Learning Jamaica Company, which was established in 2005 to execute the project, has delivered audio-visual equipment to 166 public high schools, 16 independent high schools, 10 teachers colleges, five community colleges, and six special schools.
In addition, the company has facilitated the installation of computer equipment and networks in 162 public high schools, and the training of approximately 4,000 teachers in the integration of the technology in instructional delivery.
Minister Paulwell, who was addressing the 2012/2013 installation banquet of the St. Andrew Rotary Club, held on Tuesday (June 19) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, said that instructional material, including educational software and content, has also been developed, much of which, “is given away free to schools”, and is currently accessible on e-Learning Jamaica’s website.
As it relates to plans to expand the programme to the primary level, he informed that “right now, we are creating the framework for how we will go about bringing technology and training in technology to our primary schools."
Minister Paulwell told the meeting that the administration is committed to ensuring universal access to data services island-wide, and assured that “we are going to be working assiduously to ensure that broadband service is available in every nook and cranny across this country in very short order”.
In underscoring the role which ICT must play in the nation’s development and advancement, Mr. Paulwell declared that: “it is in that vein that I envisage that Jamaica will long achieve first world status before 2030”.
The e-Learning project aims to: develop a comprehensive set of standard ICT-based instructional materials for teachers and students in 11 Caribbean Examination Council/Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CXC/CSEC) subject areas; provide schools with ICT equipment and software for use in the teaching and learning process; establish a central repository for educational materials; and enhance the skills of teachers through training programmes in the use of software and equipment and in modern methodologies for delivery of the high school CXC syllabus.
It is funded through revenue generated from the cess on international calls terminating in Jamaica.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter