Diaspora urged to bolster technology drive in schools
Jamaica’s acting Chief Education Officer Dr Kasan Troupe has issued an appeal to the diaspora to increase their investment in the education sector.
She expressed gratitude to expatriates for their “tremendous support” over the years and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Troupe emphasised that teachers, both incoming and in-service, are critical to the transformation that must take place in schools, including the restructuring of teacher-training programmes.
“We have 10 of our 21 tertiary public institutions offering teacher-training programmes, we have to get into those programmes, we have to look at the set-up and the infrastructure. Are they ready? Are they being exposed to the technology that the students will demand of them when they come in?” she asked.
Troupe was speaking at Tuesday’s Jamaica 60 Diaspora Conference, which was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Troupe said there is also a need to build on information and communications technology, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that remote learning is here to stay.
She explained that in 2025, the Caribbean Examinations Council will administer all Paper One examinations electronically (e-testing).
The acting chief education officer said that there was still a deficit of technological devices for children and skills for teachers.
“We need smart boards in our schools, we need our teachers to be equipped with the skill set. So continue to help us with that, while we continue to treat with other issues locally and prepare our system for the transformation,” said Troupe.
Further, she said the ministry has increased its expenditure on transportation support for students, many of whom are unable to attend school frequently because of financial difficulties faced by their parents.
“Within our budget, we currently have $380 million that we have provided to the system. Two hundred and fifty of our schools are benefiting from that, and that’s just touching 7,500 students. I’m speaking to the diaspora because this is a need of our system, especially for the rural areas,” Troupe appealed.