BARBADOS: 6,500 students in need of electronic devices for online learning

(BARBADOS TODAY)– Government has identified more than 6,000 students in needs of electronic devices, as it prepares to transition from classroom teaching to an online environment in the era of COVID-19.

This disclosure was made today by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, as she hosted a press conference on the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination, CXCs, and the reopening of schools.

“I had anticipated we would need around 10,000 devices in total … and we are right now close to about 6,500 students that we have identified in the system requiring a device,” she said

“We had said from the outset, that we understood the concerns of many in Barbados as it related to the issue of households not having electricity. We understood the issues of wi-fi connectivity, and we also understood students may not have access to devices. Or, they may have access to devices but they may have to share those devices with other family members in the household.”

Bradshaw said that her ministry has started to look at the possibility of having its own television station, and has also been working with several teachers to create the content that is necessary now to transition from the classroom teaching into an online environment.

“We recognize that regardless of whatever happen to COVID, the ability to have an educational channel dedicated to the Ministry of Education and even the Ministry of Culture was something that for the future, after COVID, it’s something definitely that we need to start working on,” she said.

The Minister said coming out of this process, she anticipates that there will be a change in the way the content is presented to students and different type of engagement with all stakeholders regarding the type of content used in the schools.

Minister Bradshaw emphasized that there was no time to plan and to put in place the various mechanisms to either collect the data or to source the devices ahead of time.

But she is assuring residents that no child will be left behind.

“In determining our priorities with respect to which children will have access to the devices as the come available to us, we have said that the students who are preparing for 11 plus examination, those who are doing other exams including CXC, that they will have first priority on the devices as they come to hand,” Bradshaw said.

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