District Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) now has smart classrooms in public schools for the first time. On Friday, Education Minister Priya Manickchand commissioned smart classrooms at New Amsterdam High School and Skeldon Line Trail High School.
While at New Amsterdam High School, Manickchand said she is very excited to be commissioning the smart classroom in the region making it the first such facility commissioned in the region in a public school while a smart classroom Skeldon Line Path secondary is second in the region. The two classrooms are the clever fifth and sixth classrooms to be commissioned across Guyana.
The Education Minister said people must be aware of the difficult experiences facing Guyana and the world at large because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the pandemic had been a sobering experience for everyone and had a tremendous impact on the education sector.
While COVID-19 has forced schools to close, he noted, it has also demonstrated the importance of technology in providing education. However, while the Ministry of Education has a strategic focus on installing smart classrooms, Manickchand said there is an equal thrust to increase the number of trained teachers in the education system.
“Even as we make smart classrooms across the country and improve facilities to access online teaching, we need to make sure we pay attention to teacher training,” the Education Minister noted.
He said the two go hand in hand, adding that from Monday onwards Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) will begin online teacher training. He added that this approach has allowed the college to increase its enrollment from around 500 students last year to over 2000 new students this year.
Minister Manickchand said the smart classroom will allow schools to teach lessons to students in any part of the country including the hinterland. This will reduce the disparity in education provision between the hinterland and coastal schools.
“We are building a program in the Ministry to ensure that smart classrooms are not just schools but are used effectively for the benefit of students, teachers and the wider community,” he noted.
Manickchand added that these activities to commission smart classrooms are more than having headlines in the news and likes on social media. He said these programs will be analyzed and measured to ensure they are used effectively to produce the desired results.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman David Armogan said visual learning and the use of technology are extremely important to moving forward in the education process. He said research has shown that technology-assisted learning has become a better method of teaching.
New Amsterdam High School Principal Vanessa Jacobs said during her remarks that her school does not currently have a physics teacher but with the smart classroom now ready for use, her school can benefit from the help of a physics teacher from another school such. as Queen’s College in Georgetown.
The smart classrooms have items such as an interactive board, a TV that allows teachers and students to connect and interact remotely. Motion and voice-activated cameras along with a voice recognition feature are also installed to ensure effective communication between participants.