Ministry of Education, Guyana

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 14:40

All teachers must become proficient in ICT

– Head of MoE ICT unit

Head of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) unit at the Ministry of Education (MoE), Dr. Marcia Thomas has emphasised that all teachers must become proficient in ICT as the government seeks to ensure that youths garner knowledge in this sector.

“One of the things we [at the MoE] want to move away from is having ICT teachers; every teacher must be proficient in ICT,” Dr. Thomas told a gathering of schoolchildren at the Carmel Secondary School on Monday. Furthermore, she said: “We [at the MoE] want all our teachers coming out of the [Cyril Potter College of Education] to be proficient in ICT and then move onto specialised training like programming and so.”

The Head of the ICT unit was, at the time, interacting with the students as part of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications (MoPT)’s Travelling Symposium.

According to her, ICT must become a “tool” that students can harness to better equip them with the technological skills needed in the developing world. And as such, she indicated that the telecommunications and education ministries are working in conjunction to ensure that Guyanese youth are better equipped with these skills.
Part of this mandate, however, requires the teachers themselves to first have a grasp of ICT.

But all teachers must be proficient in ICT; it’s no longer just that one teacher in a school that knows how to operate a projector. So the specialising comes when [in ways] where you’re not able to integrate ICT from Grade One all the way to Grade Nine — but beyond that “All teachers must have ICT skills to be able to teach,” Thomas said, and explained that teachers be tasked with integrating ICT into the classrooms from Grade One all the way to Grade Nine. Beyond that, she indicated that there will be “specialised” teachers- trained in areas such as programming.

This year, the MoE already has plans in place to introduce robotics in all secondary schools, as the ministry continues with its drive of promoting ICT. Already, there have been the introduction of ‘Smart’ classrooms in some schools which use enhanced audio-visual components to make learning more fun.

In similar vein, the telecommunications ministry has provided schools and public buildings with free internet access, while creating ICT hubs in various communities. “One of the things we have to understand, is that we have to move away from the traditional ways of teaching- from the chalk and talk,” Thomas told the gathering, and said instead that teachers must be able to use technology to engage children through various avenues for learning.

And, she posited: “Education is not limited to the formal classroom and the formal setting; we have to guide you to use ICT.” The symposium, which was also held at the Charlestown Secondary later that day, focused on illustrating the array of jobs available within the ICT sector also. Here, professionals from few ICT companies shared with the students the different types of work that can be done- from data entry to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Addressing the gathering also, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes related that by 2025, 75 percent of the world is going to require skills in ICT. Cognisant of this, she urged that the youths take advantage of opportunities to equip themselves in this and further, eek out entrepreneurial ventures. “What we tried to share with you today is the possibilities that you have within yourselves to create your own employment opportunities,” she said.

This symposium will be held at five other junior secondary school across Georgetown. Following the engagements, one student from each of the five targeted schools will be selected to participate in a paid Internship at one of five Guyanese IT companies, during the August vacation. They will be joined by five participants from the MoPT’s 2018 “Guyanese Girls Code” training programme.


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