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Boost for Tech Sector as Schools and Government Spend More on Technology

Schools in Jamaica are spending more money on technology than at any time in the history of education. It is estimated that the technology spend by schools annually has reached $1 billion (JMD) and could double in the next 8 years.
This is welcomed news by the technology industry, which believes that schools have been underinvesting for years. The industry believes that many of the challenges Jamaica face in the education sector, especially with teaching and learning can be solved with the introduction of smart technology in schools. Leaders of the industry stress that the technology will not seek to replace teachers, but will be a very helpful tool in achieving the teaching and learning objectives set by teachers.
There is great fear that Jamaica is terribly lagging behind a number of other Caribbean islands that have been faster at adopting technology in education. The leaders of the industry are also concerned that the level of digital illiteracy among the teachers is one of the main reasons why schools are not keen to adopt greater use of technology.
According to Mrs. Fayval Williams (Technology Minister), the Government (including its stakeholder partners) will be carrying out a number of ascendancies aimed at strengthening the ICT proficiencies of the young people in Jamaica. Included in the ascendancies are $200 million (JMD) via the Universal Service Fund (an agency of the Technology Ministry), to provide financing for ICT projects and an approved sum of $7.9 billion (JMD) from the Government to postulate computers, audio-visual equipment and shared tablets at primary and infant level. The Minister was speaking recently at the Huawei Seeds of the Future 2019 held at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
The Caribbean Examination Council has made a commitment to deliver their exams using E-testing and there are concerns about Jamaica’s preparedness at delivering on its commitment to be a part of the E-testing regime.
A Shining example as it relates to education and technology is the Ardenne High School. Ardenne High School is one of the most prepared schools in Jamaica for E-testing and not only are they leaders in E-testing, they are also leaders in many others areas as it relates to the use of technology on the school’s campus. They are advanced on schemes such as Bring your own device (BYOD), campus-wide Wi-Fi, smartboards in classrooms, a hi-tech library and numerous computer labs are examples of the leadership and investment in technology that Ardenne High School is involved in.
The research out there has long touted the benefits of technology as a tool to boost the outcomes for teachers and students. We have seen locally that schools who invest in technology reap a great return on their investment and we have seen evidence of improved teaching and improved students outcomes.