Sunday 23 September, 2018

Cell phone ban may have been ‘a mistake’, says Jones

Minister of Education Ronald Jones at the launch of CXC Connect mobile app.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones at the launch of CXC Connect mobile app.

With how education and technology are becoming inseparable the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones says that he may have been too hasty in banning cell phones from schools.

He said in Barbados, unfortunately, a fear of technology has been the driving force leaving us behind in some spheres and may be the time for such to come to an end is upon us.

“In Barbados we are caught up, sometimes out of fear, with a lot of discussions about if we should have mobile technologies in the schools; that cell phones should not be allowed.

“I know when I went in, in the first, maybe that was a mistake I made in banning the use of technology. Now I have to fight against those who don’t want to reverse it,” he admitted.

Jones says that it can no longer be denied that technology in the classrooms opens greater doors to knowledge for the students.

But he said he will deal with that in a few short weeks-time, “because the envelope is being pushed open, and open even more than it has been in the past, and if our students are to learn and learn seamlessly to stay connected, to feel the knowledge flow from not only teachers before them in the classroom, but feel that knowledge flow from across the world, that could, in fact, enhance their learning. Then we have to open the space. Then we have to use whatever technologies are there to be used.”

He said that many will talk about the dark side of technologies and “yes, some Wild Wild West exists,” but he said that technology could be tamed, bent and formed to purposeful use.

Jones says that there are those who scream in fear at new technologies but the gadgets will help us enhance capacities and make human life better.

So he advised, “Don’t look for the worse at the end of the technology and the worse comes from how human beings use it.”  

The CEO of BITT, Gabriel Abed was at the launch of CXC Connect mobile app and he said that it is a great step in the right direction. Looking at Abed’s progress in the bitcoin world, the Minister said also, “I will embrace that world quite soon… this is how the world is going.”

He said that like CXC he will try to keep up with the time.

“I’ve seen CXC moving very rapidly, and as Minister I’m trying myself to stay apace, to stay abreast of what you’re doing: e-marking, submissions of e-SBAs… we have now CXC Connect, a mobile app, e-testing, e-books, e-syllabus or e-syllabi. This is a giddying pace but you have to stay current, you have to step with time. You have to move with time, and CXC as the leading provider of examinations, of assessments within the Caribbean and moving across the World has to be in concert with what is happening in the wider World and in the wider arena… You have to really be at the cutting edge.”

And he called on members of corporate Barbados to open their Wi-Fi networks.

He said he hates restricted Wi-Fi; “that is something I abhor. Yes you protect your data but put a little Guest, a lil guest-something so that somebody travelling through this space can make use of it.”

He lamented that it is not more costly and it allows others to share whatever is happening in the world.