Secondary school students may soon be using iPads and similar electronic devises in the classroom to access learning materials. Eighty-two secondary schools in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six are now connected to the Government’s E-governance (E-GOV) 4-G LTE infrastructure network and are able to access Wi-Fi and internet services.
Head of the MIS Unit at the Ministry of Education, Yoganand Indarsingh, in a recent interview, explained that the connection has been placed in close proximity to the Information Technology (IT) laboratories in the secondary schools, allowing for the computers in the laboratories to have access to the network and the internet.
According to Indarsingh, wireless routers in the computer labs would allow students with i-pods, i-pads and similar electronic mobile devises to the network.
Indarsingh said the service would be made available to whatever instructional technology is being used within the schools as part of the curriculum and not only for students preparing their School Based Assessments (SBAs).
The World Bank funded Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP) includes a mathematics pilot project that targets Grade Seven students at a number of secondary schools. The project also provides electronic tablets for the students. Indarsingh explained that these students would use the e-gov connection to access the internet on their tablets.
Indarsingh explained that the students would not have inhibited access to the internet, as systems are in place to filter the content and to ensure it is used only for educational and instructional purposes.
The G-governance Unit would apply the filter to ensure that only appropriate content will be accessed by the schools.
Indarsingh further explained that the system would be further filtered within the schools depending on what restriction would be required, by the school itself.
The Wi-Fi and internet connectivity to the schools are part of the Improving Digital Equity, Access and Learning (IDEAL) Programme. This programme is in keeping with a mandate given by President David Granger to have all public institutions including schools equipped with Internet services to facilitate the transition from traditional learning techniques to a modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) approach.
Under the Improving Digital Equity, Access and Learning (IDEAL) Programme, all the secondary schools across the country are expected to have access to the internet and Wi-Fi service before the end of the year, with the primary schools coming on stream in 2017. (GINA)