The distribution of 1120 tablets to the seventh grade students under the Guyana Secondary Education Improvement Programme has begun with the delivery of the devices to students of the eight secondary schools included in the pilot phase.
The Innovative and Communication Technology (ICT) Unit in the Ministry of Education delivered 130 of the devices to the students of the Leonora Secondary School, and 119 to those of West Demerara Secondary in Region Three yesterday. Another batch of 89 was today handed out to the students of the Diamond Secondary today.
Innovative and Communication Technology (ICT) Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Marcia Thomas, told the Government Information Agency (GINA), that the Unit plans to complete the delivery of the tablets to the students of the outstanding five schools, within the next two weeks.
The grade seven students still to receive their devices are those from Christ Church Secondary in Georgetown, Bladen Hall and Annandale Secondary in Region Four, Bartica Secondary in Region Seven and St Ignatius Secondary in Region Nine, Thomas said.
The delivery of the devices will see the incorporating of the tablets into the teaching of mathematics in these eight pilot schools.
Thomas explained that the ICT Unit of the Ministry of Education would have already trained 32 teachers to work with the students in using the tablets and towards meeting the project goal of improving students’ performance in mathematics.
Thomas told GINA, that the devices that are being handed-out are all loaded with software to facilitate this process. She explained that a Mathematic Specialist Group headed by the Head of the Secondary Department of the Ministry, four lecturers from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and herself as the technical specialist, formed this group and they would have created the lessons plan that were preloaded unto the tablets.
She further explained that in handing over the tablets, the Unit is having the parents, students and teachers sign a responsibility code,concerning the internet use on the tablets.
This ties in to the whole connectivity in the schools that the E-Governance Unit of the Ministry of the Presidency is pushing.
Thomas said now that most of the schools are internet ready, there is a lot of fear pertaining to the free internet blast on the schools. She explained that with the tablet project, the ICT Unit is taking precaution by using a controlled process.
According to Thomas, the Unit incorporated in the tablet a mini server that is pre-loaded with only what “we want the children to have.”
“The school becomes a land but when they sign on, even if they are on Facebook it is an internal Facebook, so the teacher at any time can go on to any tablet and see,what any child is doing…,” she explained.
The Secondary Education Improvement Project for Guyana is a US $10 million project that seeks to strengthen the capacity of secondary school mathematics teachers nationwide and increase enrollment in general secondary schools in targeted regions. The project comprises three main components and the smaller tablet project.