ICT the way forward for students
IN TODAY’S KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY the demand is that all of us must be exposed to and exhibit some level of competence with information and communications technology. This will determine our success both individually and as a nation (ICT). Realistically, for us to achieve this goal, the focus must be on our school system where the process must begin and be thoroughly applied.
It is clear that there are still major hurdles to achieving the lofty objective of wide-scale competence in technology application in education in Barbados. This was pointed out last Wednesday by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Ronald Jones, while speaking at the Caribbean ICT Road Show here in Barbados.
It is interesting that as the country observes the landmark of the introduction of universally free public secondary education some 50 years ago, that we recognize there is a need for a major initiative once again in our education system. In much the same way educational opportunities were significantly opened up in 1962, so now must ICT in education be applied at all levels to enhance our education system.
If we are to compete on a global stage and our people are to be effectively equipped, then our students must be prepared in much the same way those from other competitive nations are being equipped for the ever changing world.
While the students are eager, capable and ready, we must also ensure that those delivering the education and those responsible for its leadership at all levels are trained, equipped and competent. While parents need to understand the changes required and adapt, the real drivers of change and the innovators must be our teachers who will have to be fully trained and to buy in on the need for ICT application in education.
Edu-Tech was introduced into our school system some years ago, and while it has not brought the type of change anticipated, it was a good start to the widespread application of technology in education. This effort, despite whatever hurdles were encountered, needs to go forward. The Ministry of Education and Erdiston Teachers’ Training College must both be equipped to ensure that ICT in education is a success. The ministry must lead the strategic process while Erdiston must be equipped to train and retrain all the teachers.
ICT in education has the potential to bring down the cost of education and also allow teachers to reach students in ways which were simply impossible previously; its positive impact can range from the way we operate our textbook loan scheme to our spend in the long term on bricks and mortar.
It is fair to state that in this ever changing world, the one change that will be required of people is to keep abreast of the developments in ICT or it will be at our own peril.
We may need a public communications programme on the move to the next level in education as ICT must become its main platform.