The Ministry of Education said it will this month launch an online tutorial and test preparation platform, which is aimed at providing additional learning support to a maximum of 4,100 users including students of both public and private schools.
The learning hub mainly targets students from Grade 4 to 12 and their respective teachers, as well as independent students in alternative secondary school programmes in the British Virgin Islands.
Persons will get access to the educational platform by paying a monthly fee of $5.
“Parents will be asked to partner with the government in this project by committing $5 per month or $60 a year for full use of this system. The government, through the Ministry of Education, will bear the remaining cost of the $2.50 or $30 per year for every student registered,” Minister of Education Myron Walwyn announced in the House of Assembly on April 18.
He further said, “The learning Hub offers 24/7 access to learning and testing materials. Maintenance and upgrades come with no additional cost. It can be taken anywhere, at any time.”
Walwyn stated that the learning hub is being done through an agreement with Digicel BVI Limited. The platform was created by the Caribbean-based GoGSat Limited.
Information for the learning hub is already being collected, the minister said.
“We have already begun the process of collecting user Information. A key component to this on-line process is individual email addresses for each user. And, for under-age students, parent’s permission is being sought. To facilitate this, a “virgin islands student.edu” domain was acquired and each student within the system can now have a student email address for the duration of time in formal education.”
Walwyn further noted: “We have had very keen interest from the public and private schools’ administration and teachers as they see the benefits for the students at every grade level.”
The benefits of using the online learning hub are many, Walwyn said.
“This eLearning and online test preparation system will provide learning and testing resources for the core subjects of Math, English Language, Social Studies, and Science at the primary level, all subjects at the secondary level including Financial Services, Tourism, Virgin Islands Studies and Civics, as well as all our CSEC and CAPE subjects,” the minister said.
In addition to providing mock exams and topic-specific tests, the learning hub also has the ability to generate notes, study guides, handouts, and work sheets on specific topic areas by grade level.
“Teachers can also set up chat rooms for their classes where concepts can be introduced or reinforced. The system can grade essays, offer live tutorials, provide homework help, answer questions for students in real time and generate educational games also,” the education minister said.
He added that, as the programme develops, the ministry will be able to facilitate independent studies in preparation for high school diplomas, and regional examinations such as CSEC and CAPE.
Still looking towards the future, Walwyn said: “The portal will cater to individuals doing private studies outside the confines of a classroom setting as all objectives and study notes by subject will be available. The prison education programme can be augmented by this, as well as students enrolled in the Alternative Secondary Education Programme.”
“Ultimately, in collaboration with the Examinations Unit, individuals seeking secondary school qualifications can study independently using the Learning Hub services, and then complete exams in the required subject areas to earn the necessary credentials.” Walwyn further said.
Here are some of the other benefits he listed:
1. The online learning hub will help them to stay on track with what is being taught in the classroom.
2. It has a tutorial component for those who need extra lessons on selected topics.
3. For advanced students the opportunity to move ahead in covering the syllabus and content even before it is done in class.
4. For those on a different academic pathway, objectives and content systematically outlined are available on the learning hub that can be used to prepare them to successfully complete secondary certification on their own if they have the ability to do so.
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