Thursday 9 April, 2020

Schools islandwide to get WiFi and Robotics programme in curriculum

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw.

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw.

The island’s education system is in for a major shakeup as $5.6 million will be invested towards technologically modernising the schools and its curriculum. 

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Santia Bradshaw, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training was making her contribution to the Government’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure debate when she announced that Government has committed to ensuring Robotics is implemented in all secondary school curriculums from September 2020. 

Bradshaw inferred that the Ministry intended to roll out Robotics clubs across all secondary schools across the island, with a pilot project to also be implemented in nursery, primary and special schools. 

“Devices will be provided for students as well as teachers and we have a very rigorous programme designed to engage teachers in training and retraining, because we do have some existing in the systems presently who can teach the programme,” said the Minister of Education. 

The Minister emphasized that investment in emerging technologies will drive the transformation of the island’s education system. 

Out of the $5.6 million, $2.2 million has been invested towards ensuring WiFi connectivity across the various schools. Bradshaw revealed that the Government has received donations of desktops and laptops from the Republic of China but they could not be deployed with the necessary cabling and WiFi connectivity was not installed at the school plants. The Minister said $370, 550 has been allotted towards cabling in secondary, primary and nursery schools. 

She also stated it was necessary to improve the connectivity in the schools to meet the e-testing requirements of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). In regards to e-testing in Barbados, Government has mandated to conform to the introduction of devices by 2025.

“I believe this will go in a major way to being able to allow us to not only have our students conformed to using our devices in a positive way but certainly being able to put them ahead of the relevant technology as well.

“I am assured that as monies permit and as finances permit that the intention is that we will continue to see the further introduction of additional devices across the system but this is a start and it is a welcomed start for this Ministry of Education,” Bradshaw said. 

The Minister reiterated that persons would have equal access to education through technology, whether they are blind, hard of hearing or deaf. 

“We believe that technology placed in the hands of our student population will help to drive the process of transformation,” she added. 

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