All secondary schools to have computer laboratories by mid 2011 – Baksh
- teachers may benefit from one-laptop programme
The Ministry of Education has said that it is continuing to push ahead with plans to not only increase students’ access to Information Technology (IT) but also to ensure that teachers are trained to use the computer as both a teaching and learning tool.
Some 70 trainers from the various education districts recently completed a refresher training course at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD). The initiative which was part of the newly launched continuous professional development programmes administered by NCERD aims to bring the ministry closer to achieving the targets set-out for IT in its 2008-2013 strategic plan.
Education Minister, Shaik Baksh, speaking at the closing of the Basic Information Technology Competency Course recently disclosed that during the past 18 months, some 3,000 teachers have benefited from the programme.
IT remains an important plank of the 2008-2013 strategic plan and the Ministry of Education said that it intends to equip all secondary schools and 50 per cent of primary schools with IT laboratories by 2013.
But Baksh has been plugging for these benchmarks to be achieved much earlier. He disclosed that some 70 of the 110 public secondary schools in the country will be outfitted with computer laboratories at the end of the year and works on the remaining schools are expected to be completed by June next year.
According to Baksh, work on the schools slated to have computer laboratories by year end is moving well and each school will have at least 30 computers.
The Minister also stressed that the IT targets in the strategic plan cannot be achieved with Government’s resources alone and appealed to the Guyanese Diaspora, the old students’ associations of the various schools, non-governmental organizations and the business community to play their part.
Apart from the investment by Government, he noted that Global Partnership for Literacy (GPL) has made a commitment to install systems in 50 schools and to date, that Canada-based non-governmental organization has already done so at seven schools.
The alumni of several schools have also stepped forward to help their alma mater, he reported, and emphasized that strides will continue to be made to prepare both teachers and students to be abreast with the changes and developments of the 21st century.
The IT component of the Ministry of Education five-year strategic plan sets Guyana on a trajectory of moving beyond technological literacy into the stage of knowledge deepening. Baksh urged the participants to remain focused on knowledge deepening and said that some schools have received computers as part of a UNICEF supported project – Connecting Classrooms.
This project is intended to provide online learning support for children in Grades Seven to Nine in core subject areas. Already a web based application has been developed for the publishing of subject lessons, and teachers from selected schools have undergone training in the preparation of content.
Meanwhile, in an effort to ensure that teachers are adequately prepared to use computers for teaching and learning, the Ministry of Education has developed an ICT competency framework for teachers.
This plan provides a roadmap for teachers’ professional development in ICT and makes available the training opportunities for teachers to develop appropriate skills. Support for this undertaking has been provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth of Learning, and Microsoft Corporation.
Baksh said, too, that under the new teacher education and training reform agenda, the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) will be equipped with a state-of-the-art computer laboratory as well as the Faculty of Education and Humanities at the University of Education (UG) for teachers pursuing the education programmes.
The Minister also said that every teacher who graduates from the college must be computer literate and on that point he proposed a scheme to provide a lap top for every trainee teacher at the college who is prepared to fund half the cost to acquire a system.