Statement By Minister For Education And Culture Honourable Myron Walwyn
At The Third Sitting Of The Fourth Session Of
The Second House Of Assembly Of The Virgin Islands
The Integration Of ICT Into The Primary School Curriculum
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Madame Speaker, the Ministry of Education and Culture is preparing to introduce an Information and Communication Technology programme into the Grade 5 curriculum beginning Trinity Term 2014-2015. The programme will be piloted for one (1) year and will be conducted in eight (8) public primary schools in the Territory of the Virgin Islands.
The eight schools chosen to pilot this project are the
- Alexandrina Maduro Primary
- Ebenezer Thomas Primary
- Joyce Samuel Primary
- Ivan Dawson Primary
- Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary
- Jost Van Dyke Primary
- Claudia Creque Educational Centre and
- Isabella Morris Primary School
Madame Speaker, education is a lifelong process which should meet the needs of all learners and therefore ICT is an important tool which will help to meet this need. The world of education is changing as the modern world continues to grow. Thus, it is important that education be able to reach students in new ways to prepare our students for the future. Our students today are the leaders, inventors, teachers, businessmen and women of tomorrow. Without the proper skills, to help students keep abreast of the rapid changing global changes brought on by technologies, these students will not have the preparation needed to survive.
Madame Speaker, the new technologies and emerging technologies has and will continue to have a significant effect on the way we live, work and play worldwide and will definitely challenge the traditional process of teaching and learning and the way education is managed. Madame Speaker, the pace of change in technologies is silently mandating that our students should possess sound technological literacy skills.
Thus, the objectives of this programme are to integrate or infuse ICT into the primary curriculum in order to enhance the teaching and learning of pre-existing subjects; change the culture of the use of ICT in the classroom and, by extension, the education system; provide a variety of resources to enhance the teaching skills and learning abilities; increase accessibility to children with disabilities; improve confidence in the use of ICT for students and teachers; and promote new behaviours for teaching. The teachers of the Grade 5 classes will be facilitated and supported by designated ICT teachers.
This programme, Madame Speaker, is fundamentally different from ICT programmes which were previously introduced into the primary schools. Instead of using computer labs, students will be utilising the laptop computers in their regular classrooms, for every subject.
Presently, Madame Speaker, ICT is not a subject within the primary curriculum, even though there is an existing curriculum. After considerable discussion at the Ministry level and research carried out by designated ICT teachers, Mrs. Monica Cills-Hodge and Ms Lauren Welch, a decision has been made to revise the existing ICT curriculum to align it with current trends in ICT in education.
Madame Speaker, recommendations have been made to source the Techno Kids Junior Computer Curriculum in conjunction with the Information and Communication Technology for Caribbean Primary Schools: Computer Basics for Children Book 3, to form the basis for the curriculum. Madame Speaker, the Techno Kids Junior Computer Curriculum is a collection of technology projects in which each project includes a Teacher’s Guide, workbook and customised resources. With this curriculum, computer lessons are project-based and students apply technology to make learning meaningful.
For the piloting of this ICT programme, a new itinerant unit comprising ICT educators will be formed, and the pilot phase, will be implemented the 2014-2015 Trinity Term and will be assessed at the end of pilot period. It is the long term goal of the Ministry of Education and Culture to have this ICT programme phased into all grades of the public primary schools. The phased in process will be done by grades over a period of five (5 years). This will allow the Ministry to adequately prepare and procure the various resources and required equipment for each integration phase.
Presently, Madame Speaker, the Ministry is procuring the various resources and equipment required for the successful piloting of this programme: the Techno Kids Junior Computer Curriculum, LCD projectors, textbooks, laptop computers, printers, and Laptop Carts which will be used to store, secure and charge the computer equipment.
Madame Speaker, one of the Ministry’s priorities for the 2014-2015 school year is to integrate ICT into the primary curriculum so that students are able to use technology to enhance their learning. Madame Speaker, if this Territory aims to achieve a 21st Century Education System and is presently making strides to ensure that it has 21st Century School Leaders and Educators, it is important that we also put measures in place to prepare students to be 21st Century Learners. Thank you Madame Speaker!