Barbados: Computers for all schools

Barbados Today:-All schools across Barbados are to be furnished with computers shortly, Education Minister Ronald Jones declared yesterday.

“In another few weeks, across every school – Erdiston College, SJPP, BCC, including the private schools – once they are registered with us, we will be completely redeploying technology across every one of those, from laptops, [to] desktops,” the Minister said while delivering the feature address at the Erdiston Teachers Training College’s 2017 ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Jones told the 2015-2016 graduating class along with well-wishers, education and other government officials, that distribution of the equipment, which is an independence jubilee gift, will be completed in “three weeks to a month… laptops for every child, starting with the sixth forms, fifth, and then the others”.

“Every school will have tablets as well as laptops and desktops, and we will gradually put back in some of the other apparatus that you need,” he added.

While Jones did not disclose the source of the technological equipment, his comments indicated that the Treasury will be affected only in clearing the items at Customs.

“We didn’t have to buy them, me might got to pay a lil cents at the port.  They are a gift to Barbados as a result of our 50th anniversary. So we will deploy them right across the system.”

He advised the graduating teachers, “they (computers) are not to be kept at home. They’re to be used in schools, by yourselves and the students”.

“My challenge to you is to care them. Use them well,” Jones said.

The Education Minister said he is concerned about reports of low student performance. “A little too many continue to fail … I want to see change, I want to see success of our children. Failure must never be considered as an option.”

He conceded that the island-wide distribution of computers will not by itself turn around the failure percentage.

“Technology doesn’t make you learn. It is what you bring to your students.”

He noted though that such technology will enable educators to use for teaching the same media through which children easily take in other messages, including entertainment.

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