Teachers are being implored to make greater use of technology in the teaching and learning process, even as normality has returned to the education sector, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making the call, Minister of Education and Youth, Hon Fayval Williams, reiterated that technology-based education must become a permanent fixture in schools.
She was addressing the Teachers’ Colleges of Jamaica Biennial Research Conference 2023, held at the Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday (April 19).
“Government made a lot of investment in devices for our students, and we were able to get the sector through COVID. Yes, there has been learning loss, which we are making up, but the disappointing news is that now that we are post-COVID-19, we are not seeing the continuation of technology in our classrooms,” Mrs. Williams pointed out.
She stressed that the Government continues to make investments to speed up the pace at which schools employ information and communications technology (ICT) and urged teachers to capitalise on that investment.
“We have ensured… that all our primary-school teachers have laptops. Things can be downloaded and brought to the classroom. As I stand here today, we are ensuring that all of our secondary-school teachers have laptops; and we are ensuring that ICT labs in our secondary schools are upgraded,” the Minister said.
“We want to be encouraged, we want to know that the investment is not going to gather dust, that our teachers will be using [ICT in our classrooms to enrich the teaching and learning experience,” she added.
The Minister noted that half the nation’s schools have now been equipped with broadband connectivity, with plans to have Wi-Fi across all “primary, secondary, tertiary and early-childhood institutions, so that it is available in classrooms in our schools”.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams underscored that special development workshops and research conferences serve as critical avenues to help teachers examine new developments in pedagogy, “while at the same time improving their classroom skills”.
“As key participants and stakeholders in education, meaningful transformation can only happen if we involve your perspectives and engagement. Aligned to this must be continued professional development that keeps teachers apace with innovation and technological development in the field,” she said.
The three-day biennial research conference, which culminates on April 21, is being held under the theme ‘Preparing Teachers for The Next Education Task Force: Implications for National Development’.
The conference will provide a platform for faculty, students, local and regional and international partners to share their theoretical knowledge, research findings and pedagogical approaches with the academic community.