Teachers urged to embrace technology

The Ministry of Education is urging teachers to embrace technology, repudiating the alleged demands by education officials that teachers prepare handwritten schemes and notes of lessons.

Deputy Chief Education Officer (Administration) Donna Chapman, in a memorandum dated January 11, 2017 and seen by Stabroek News, expressed surprise at the allegation. “I was appalled to read this letter… ‘Education officials will not accept teacher’s schemes on laptops; demands handwritten notes,’ in today’s Stabroek News. To demand handwritten notes of lesson is archaic; what officers need to do is ensure that the Head teacher has a soft copy of teacher’s daily notes and schemes,” the document read.

“I hope all of you will endeavour to keep abreast with the technology changes,” she added, before encouraging teachers to make use of flash drives and computers for easier access to each term’s notes of lessons.

“Let’s make the technology work for us,” Chapman concluded. In a letter published in the Stabroek News on January 11, 2017, the writer accused the Ministry of Education of being backward given the demand by education officers that schemes and notes of lessons be handwritten as they would not be accepted in electronic format.

The letter writer, whose name was withheld, further questioned the purpose of the “one laptop per teacher initiative”, asking if the said programme was not meant to utilize “technological opportunities” to lessen the workload of teachers.

“Recently, when the Ministry of Education, under the one laptop per teacher initiative rolled out a programme of giving each teacher a laptop, many of us were very pleased. We interpreted it as the arrival of a new era. It was welcomed and seen as an opportunity where technology would be harnessed to lessen the workload of teachers. Lo and behold, the new school term has proved us wrong,” the letter said.  Elaborating, the writer said, some teachers opted to prepare schemes and notes of lessons on their computers with the intention of presenting them to visiting education officers in the same format.

“This week, officials from the Department of Education visited our school and indicated to us that they would not be accepting any schemes or notes of lessons on the laptops. Instead, they stressed that all schemes and notes of lessons must be handwritten,” the letter read.

“In other words, we must stick to the old model. We look at this as not only being inward looking, but also indicative of a very backward mentality which almost wholly annihilates the very reason why the computers were given to us,” it added.

“What makes the whole episode vexatious is that despite our endeavour to explain, the officers would not listen. While some of us are not very surprised because the minister inherited a system with a host of individuals who think that position is synonymous with intellect and knowing it all, as a citizen I remain concerned because these ‘great’ thinkers are never inclined to listen to an individual at the school level,” the writer penned.

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