$223M for computer labs in 70 secondary schools

Cabinet has approved $222.9M for the procurement of computer equipment and accessories to furnish about 70 secondary schools countrywide.

According to a Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) press release, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon made this announcement at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Monday. This sum would be used to purchase 1,400 computer work stations, 64 servers, 64 over head projectors and 300 UPS devices to install and establish fully functional computer labs. The project is set to conclude at the start of the 2011/12 school year.

Dr Luncheon said that this initiative is an element of the National Information Com-munication Technology (ICT) Strategy, which is being implemented simultaneously with other programmes. “The ICT strategy in education actually sees the computerisation of the labs having an impact on the students and their access to technology and the feeling has been cultivated that students at CSEC doing ICT, the numbers would triple over the next few years as the results of the computerisation of the schools,” Luncheon said.

GINA said the programme is also made possible with support from the Common-wealth of Learning from the Commonwealth Secretariat and Microsoft. “To ensure that teachers in Guyana are fully equipped and technologically on par with advancements in ICT, training will also be provided to teachers at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD),” it added.

Luncheon noted that while the quality of training provided to teachers is expected to be dramatically boosted from the basic to advance level, it will also be decentralized not only at NCERD, but in Region Six. In addition, the ministry’s ICT unit has been developing programmes to boost the capacities of both teachers and pupils in the use of advanced technology. It has employed the Interactive Radio Instruction programme, Success Maker and provided educational DVDs and CDs to facilitate this. To date, over 3,000 teachers have been trained in ICT.

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