At a press conference yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said TT has one of the leading education systems in the world but could fall behind if the school system does not introduce a stronger ICT based syllabus.
“Trinidad and Tobago stands proud on the international map for the tremendous work we are doing...but if we leave ICT out of education, we are going to be left behind and TT is definitely not going to be left behind,” Gopeesingh vowed.
Gopeesingh said government began introducing ICT elements in the school system with the Form One student laptop programme. Now the ministry is looking to create new forms of ICT programmes in the classroom.
One of the new ICT initiatives to be implemented will include 100 interactive white boards being placed into schools. As well, the Ministry recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Intel, partnering with Samsung, to have a smart classroom pilot programme in 20 schools. Gopeesingh said the Ministry is also looking into implementing e-text books to relieve the students of heavy bookbags.
“Why can’t our students be trained from now with ICT? Students have different capabilities across the spectrum. Our students must be academically balanced,” Gopeesingh said.
In an effort to improve ICT skills of students, the Ministry has partnered with the Organisation of American States (OAS) to host the Virtual Educa Caribbean 2014 conference at the Hyatt Regency on May 19 and 20.
This two-day conference is free and open to the public and specifically targets parents, teachers, students and other education stakeholders.
“The OAS considers this to be among the best education initiative. Not just because education is the cornerstone of any progressive, stable and democratic society, but because this conference isn’t just a talk shop. It’s a hands on, interactive meeting which focuses on the possibilities for education in the future and of the future,” said Shelly Dass, senior adviser with the OAS.
Virtual Educa Caribbean is an annual conference that offers participants the opportunity to see how innovation in education with the use of ICT is developed. This conference will show concrete examples of best practice through workshops, exhibitions and preventions.