At a media conference hosted at the Telecommunications’ Ministry on Monday, a representative who spoke on behalf of the subject Minister, Catherine Hughes admitted that the Ministry does not have firm plans to include Information Technology as a topic for children at young ages.
According to the representative, an Outreach Coordinator, Donnella Collison, the Ministry is always evolving on their plans but does not have a firm one when it relates to having Information and Communications Technology (ICT) introduced for children at the Nursery level, although it was recommended in a study which was presented at the same conference on Monday.
Collison informed, “We are always evolving in how we plan and what we plan to offer(but) we don’t have a firm plan in place for the very young ages but that’s something that we’ve already began the conversation about. It’s something that we know we have to consider”.
The Coordinator explained that the Ministry is fully aware that children from very tender ages are becoming involved in ICT and even detailed that five and four-year -olds are involved in coding and programming activities in other Nursery schools across the globe.
During the presentation of the findings from two ICT programmes that were conducted last year with children, a researcher highlighted that students are more exposed to ICT in schools at the Secondary levels. In fact, students spend the last three years in High School trying to learn to operate computers.
It was against this backdrop that a call was made for ICT to be introduced to children at a younger age, as they are often afraid to learn about computers at the grown up levels.
When asked by this publication when such programs or subjects will be available to children in nursery schools locally, the Telecommunications Minister clarified that this specific matter had to be dealt with by the Education Department.
According to her, “The Ministry of Education is the body that designs the curriculum”.
An Education Ministry official who was at the meeting chimed in saying that the Ministry is currently working to reform the curriculum to involve such areas for younger children.
The official, who declined to provide and name and designation, only noted, “I’m sure that all of you know that the Ministry of Education is involved in the process of curriculum reform and we are in the process of looking at our curriculum we have a whole project surrounding curriculum reform and yes IT and programming and robotics are all a part of that curriculum reform”.
She updated that the Ministry is at phase three of that reform which is the actual writing of the curriculum.