Ministry of Education, Guyana

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Effective incorporation of ICT in teaching practices and improvement of ICT equipment needs to be sustained.

Information and Communication Technology was identified as a key issue in a number of areas. First, televisions, radios and, in particular computers, can be used to support the delivery of quality education. Second, there is a need to produce ICT/computer literate graduates and finally, computers can be used as a management tool in all levels of the system. The Government of Guyana has recognized the huge potential of Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) to empower Guyanese to meet developmental challenges and strengthen the economy.

The Government has therefore outlined various policies that are aimed at creating an environment that will foster technology use and encourage investment in ICT. These include fiscal policies that allow the import of computers free of tax and the integration of ICT in some critical areas. Education is one of the most critical of these areas because narrowing the digital gap is more than just providing physical access to computers and the Internet, people must understand how to put it to good use.

The Education Strategic Plan (2003-2007) had as its most important objective the improvement in the quality of the delivery of education especially in the area of literacy and numeracy. The increased use of technology was among the strategies identified to achieve the improvement in quality. At the primary level the teaching of mathematics by Interactive Radio Instruction for the first three grades was introduced. A new methodology for teaching literacy, with a strong emphasis on phonics, was implemented at the primary and nursery levels and, as indicated in the section on literacy, some low performing primary schools were supported by innovative technology, including the setting up of computer laboratories and the use of supporting software programs in at least fourteen schools. At the secondary level the setting up of computer laboratories has mainly been for the purpose of allowing students to pursue studies in Information Technology and to offer this subject at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (CSEC) offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

In order to address the issue of computers to schools, the Ministry implemented a “Computers for Schools” pilot project with assistance from the Organisation of American States (OAS). This project has resulted in the placement of approximately 500 refurbished computers into schools and the setting up of a Computer Refurbishing Centre at the Government Technical Institute (GTI). The Ministry intends to continue this programme and encourage partnerships with private, public and NGOs to help meet the ICT resource requirements.

The use of computer technology has also become a major necessity for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions. All of these institutions are offering programmes on computer studies for those who had no exposure to the technology at school. In addition, Computer Aided Design Training is now almost indispensable in instruction for drafting in engineering, construction, interior design and so on. Further the TVET institutions are now offering courses in the maintenance of computers.
The use of computers at all levels of the education system requires that teachers themselves be familiar with the technology. The latest quarterly edition of the Newsletter from UNESCO’s International Institute of Education Planning states that “Effective (not just formal) incorporation of ICT in teaching practices is best provided through in-service teacher training and staff development programs for education personnel”. The Education Strategic Plan 2003-2007 set as a goal the improvement of equipment (including computer equipment) at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) centres and greater orientation to education technology. This has started but needs to continue during the next five years.

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