JIS: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in partnership with La Sierra University in California, has launched a new eLibrary project, aimed at transforming the way school libraries are structured, with digital platforms that users can access from their personal devices, both on and off campuses.
The ceremony was held on Tuesday (January 15), at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
At the launch, the software was shared with administrators for the various regions of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, who will be sharing it with schools in upcoming weeks.
The project will enable students to access thousands of current textbooks and more than 100 instructional videos, by plugging in a free preloaded flash drive into their computers and uploading the software.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who spoke at the launch, said this new project complements the implementation of the National Standards Curriculum and provides access to learning resources that satisfy standards of quality.
“Traditionally, libraries offer support at every stage of a person’s life, where we go to study, write and research. Today, with the rapidly expanding range of digital activities, there are greater options for libraries to engage new and existing users. The electronic library system enables teachers and students in schools to gain access to multimedia resources in library services directly from their schools at any time,” Senator Reid explained.
“This is another way of extending the libraries beyond brick and mortar structures and literally bringing the library from the schools. We are becoming more and more a digital society, using mobile phones, tablets and other devices to obtain information,” he added.
The Minister said that the digital libraries will improve efficiencies, reduce costs and complement the Government’s Tablets in Schools Programme.
“eLibrary is the way to go, and we are using technology to reduce the cost for the delivery of services. The world is changing rapidly and we have to adapt to it,” he said.
The Minister also thanked representative from La Sierra University, Patrina Jamieson, a Jamaican, who worked on taking the project from the university to Jamaica.
For her part, Ms. Jamieson said she decided to advocate for the eLibrary project to be taken to Jamaica, so that her team could make a positive contribution to the development of Jamaica’s youth.
“eLibrary is a global initiative to address Sustainable Goal #4 for quality education. The eLibrary uses, basically, micro compression technology to bring thousands of curated curriculum-based content to communities around the world,” she said.
Ms. Jamieson also noted that the eLibrary is being provided to the schools and students at no charge, and aims to reach youth who have problems with numeracy and literacy skills.
She is a former student of Tarrant High School in Kingston, which was recently part of a pilot stage of the project.
During his testimonial, Principal of Tarrant High School, Major Paul Hall, said the administrators have seen an improvement in students’ performance in the subject of Mathematics after using the software.
“The students are also more familiar with the sciences, and I can’t get them to leave the devices alone. Every day they want to explore the sciences. Our students now can learn research skills, which are very important, and what I love about this awesome device, is that without Internet, anywhere you are, you are able to access it through your phone,” he said.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (left); and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard (right), display an eLibrary package from La Sierra University in the United States, during the launch on Tuesday (January 15), at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. At centre is representative from La Sierra University, Patrina Johnson.
CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, speaks at the launch of the eLibrary Project, on Tuesday (January 15) at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.