Friday, April 12, 2024

EDU-take!

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EDUTECH has been costly for taxpayers and to date has not truly delivered any dividends for the education sector.That was the verdict yesterday from Minister of Education Ronald Jones, as he delivered the weekly lunch-time lecture at the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) George Street, St Michael headquarters.Speaking on the topic: Challenges To Formal Education In An Era Of Technology – Dilemma And Survival, Jones outlined a number of “major defects and deficits” which he said had plagued the programme introduced by the previous Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration.Jones listed some of the problems as: Inadequate teacher preparation; support personnel not trained to give teachers assistance; too massive an influx of technology at one full swoop in schools; too much down time between teacher training and the in-school deployment of technology; and over-exuberance at the level of policymakers as to the immediate benefits of the technology deployment.He also indicated that school-based leaders were unable to offer instructional leadership in the integration of technology. He added that not enough competent people were available to deliver the knowledge skills and techniques in technology integration. He also drew attention to high cost outlays to the providers for infrastructure and technology.Jones pointed out a slew of corrective measures that could be implemented to ensure that the massive investment would not be wasted “in the next decade”. Among these, he noted, were a complete reorientation of all teachers, especially younger ones; deployment of more indigenous software material; a more determined and focused presence on the web by all schools; full integration of educational management systems in all schools; and greater access by students to curriculum material to support their learning.Jones said the development and deployment of a technology assessment strategy, a clearly designed education technology plan and greater recognition of on-time correction and re-enforcement teaching were also required.He added that the Barbados experience in grappling with technology had a checkered past. He said the future would also be uncertain unless there was a major reorientation effort among teachers, students, parents, policymakers and education leaders.Jones said one of the challenges which schools faced was making technology or digital media literacy a normal, routine part of the education process. (WG)

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