Editorial

Tablets for teachers commendable, but long overdue

Monday, July 22, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


It's beyond debate that as Jamaica battles to get its society and economy in good order maximum use of modern technology is a must.

For the country to evolve to First-World status, and if the majority of ordinary people are to do more than eke out the barest of existence on low-wage jobs, training in cutting edge technologies of all sorts must become a matter of course.

It's obvious also that the fight to combat crime — increasingly being recognised and accepted as Jamaica's biggest problem — won't be won without integrated use of high-tech methodologies.

For all those reasons, and more, responsible people will applaud the announcement that 15,000 Jamaican teachers are to receive tablet computers under the ongoing e-learning project.

We are told by JIS News that the initiative is part of an agreement between the Government and the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) to provide each teacher in public schools with a 10-inch tablet computer as part of their compensation package.

The tablets will be for personal use as well as to help teachers deliver the Ministry of Education's schools' curriculum.

It could be argued that such a project is long overdue. Indeed, we recall that when the landmark 'tablets in schools' programme was first introduced in 2014, a criticism then was that there was need to first target teachers to ensure proper implementation.

Of course, there has been much water under the bridge since then.

Today's cellphones are, in fact, hand-held computers, meaning that the great majority of the teachers receiving tablet computers under the new programme will already be acquainted with the technology.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at e-Learning Mr Keith Smith says the first phase of the new programme will address infant and primary schools, with the second phase focusing on high schools.

“We are now in [an era] that is being called the fourth industrial revolution, and we have to train our students in how to use these tools to get them ready for the workplace,” Mr Smith is reported as saying.

“Therefore, e-Learning is focused on ensuring that students in public schools have the right technology and tools to improve their learning experience,” he added.

Related projects include the previously mentioned 'tablets in schools'; 'technology integration for primary schools', intended to give all primary schools basic information technology (IT) infrastructure; and an IT infrastructure overhaul at some high schools.

Mr Smith said that upon completion of these projects there could be upwards of 400,000 devices operating in public schools.

It seems to us that crucial to all this must be greater Internet availability across the country, but especially in deep rural Jamaica where there are still far too many communities — and schools — where Internet service is unavailable or is too unstable to be functionally useful.

Jamaicans are still some distance from fulfilment of the pledge by then minister of technology, now Opposition spokesman, Mr Phillip Paulwell, for every Jamaican in "every nook and cranny" to have access to the Internet.

That needs to be fixed at the speed of light.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT