While disclosing that his ministry is partnering with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to grant students access to CXC books online, Minister of Education Myron Walwyn said plans are still in motion to issue tablet devices to junior students attending public secondary schools by next academic year.
Students will be given the devices as part of the Ministry of Education’s electronic books (eBooks) programme.
The aim is to replace traditional textbooks with tablets.
“Many of you [students] will probably be using this device hopefully in September, and all your text books for Grades 7 and 8 will be on this device, and this is what you’ll be taking to school come September in Grades 7 and 8 across all public schools across the [British Virgin Islands],” Walwyn said yesterday.
Walwyn told BVI News Online that only students in the aforementioned grades will be issued the devices at the initial stages.
Walwyn however stated that, over time, students at all levels in public secondary schools will have access to electronic books.
“We intend to extend the programme to Grade 7, Grade 8, and Grade 9, and then we’re working with CXC on an online portal they’re doing as well for text books for senior school 10, 11, and 12 [grades]. So students will use [the regular portal] from 7, 8, 9 and then when they get to grade 10 they switch on to the portal at CXC and utilize them.”
The education minister was speaking at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School yesterday during the launch of the GoGSat online learning hub.
The hub, among other things, will grant students, teachers, and parents 24/7 access to tutorials in various subject areas. It has the ability to generate notes, handouts, and create chat rooms between users. There are also online tutors available on the hub to give real-time answers to questions from users.
The launch was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and telecommunications company Digicel.
Students will be able to sign up to the new GoGSat online learning hub as early as May 1, the Ministry of Education said.
The online platform will give students, teachers, and parents, 24/7 access to its interface for a monthly fee of $5.
Speaking at the launch, Acting Chief Education Officer Connie George said there have been only positive reviews from the select few who have used the hub so far.
“For all who have taken the time to view this portal – the comments; they have been the same. It is an excellent tool and worthwhile investment.”
During a live demonstration of the eLearning hub, two students in attendance got a chance to use the user-friendly interface. They both logged on and asked random online school-related questions. They each received instantaneous responses.
The minister of education, Walwyn, said online learning “provides parents with an ideal way to monitor their children’s progress and be in a position to be in constant communication with teachers”.
Walwyn also reiterated: “Government will give access to 4,100 users which will cover students and teachers of public and private schools as well as independent users.”
The online portal offers subjects such as Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, and Science at the primary level. On the other hand, students at the secondary will have access to all subject areas including Financial Services and Tourism, Walwyn further said.