UNICEF launches State of the World’s Children report in Guyana

The State of the World’s Children (SOWC) 2017 report was launched on Tuesday at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).

According to a press release from the Ministry of Education, the theme for this year’s report is “Children in a Digital World.” Sylvie Fouet, UNICEF Representative, Guyana and Suriname, said that the report highlights both the benefits and challenges of digital technology and examines digital technology’s impact on children’s lives.

During the launching ceremony, schools from eight administrative regions were connected live using the Smart Classroom at NCERD, the release stated. The UNICEF Representative said that she is looking forward to seeing children in the hinterland connected with their colleagues on the coast to learn from each other, share information and ideas.

According to the release. Fouet, however, cautioned that while technology can have a very positive impact, excessive use can lead to depression and anxiety in young children. As such, use of technology must be moderate. She said that the impact of technology can be a challenge in some instances.

Meanwhile, ICT Coordinator with the Ministry of Education, Marcia Thomas informed those in attendance about the role technology can play in providing equal education opportunities,  the release stated. For example, the Smart Classroom, she explained, can bridge the gap between hinterland, rural and coastal institutions.

According to the release, one feature of the Smart Classroom, Thomas highlighted, is that the E-station can monitor the devices that students use to connect to the system. This way, the tutor can know what each child is doing with the device and ensure that it is being used correctly during periods of instruction.

This is bolstered by the classroom management software called ‘Radix’. With this software, teachers can record lessons and students can participate in the live recording. Students who miss the live lesson can access the recording for up to one month, the release stated.

According to the release, access to these materials will be facilitated through an app called “Smart Class Guyana” which will be available in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Following the speeches and presentations, students who were viewing from the launch from their Information Technology labs said that technology plays an important role in their school life in terms of assistance to complete work and to learn about foreign cultures which boosts their tolerance of others, the release said. The students were also shown videos that taught them about the benefits and dangers of technology.

The UNICEF SOWC report was handed over to the Ministry of Education that was represented by Deputy Chief Education Officer (ag), Ingrid Trotman. Also present at the launch were other representatives of UNICEF, the diplomatic corps, students and teachers from the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School and Queen’s College.

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