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Issue 20 | 16 Mar, 2019

Building Resilience

OUR SAINT LUCIA www.govt.lc

Bi-monthly Progress Report from the Government of Saint Lucia

Towards a decade

of ICT and

Innovation


CONTENTS

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Saint Lucia Adopts ICT POLICY

ICT in Communities

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www.govt.lc

8-9 Robotics on the move

Public Libraries Online

Coding Project

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Creating Smart School

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n this edition of Our Saint Lucia, we focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the impact the Government’s recent policy is having on ICT in schools and communities. The policy fosters a sense of inclusion, as it is sector-wide driven and is predicated on the national goals for ICT in Education. It also targets the spectrum from early childhood to the adult enrichment programs. This ICT policy, embraces the positive impact ICT will have on Saint Lucia when teachers are digitally literate and understand how to integrate their knowledge with the curriculum, using a diverse set of ICT tools to communicate, create, disseminate, store, manage information and enhance learning overall. To this end, already we are seeing the use of ICT in Saint Lucia as integral to the teaching-learning interaction, replacing chalkboards with interactive digital whiteboards, moving from paper testing to e-testing, upgrading of computer labs and TD labs as examples of efforts being implemented by this Government. Our students are already excited by the prospects and their creativity has been matching their enthusiasm, as evident by successes at regional and international science fairs and robotics competitions. Through the pages of this publication, you will learn more about these projects as we seek to offer an understanding on the renewed focus on ICT, which the Government sees as critical for the enabling of progress and avoiding poverty (as education should) but also as a means to develop a more knowledge based and efficient society working towards improving its productivity and economy.

SAINT LUCIA


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echnology is now fully pervasive in the global context. Digital technology in particular, has become central to how we communicate, work, live and learn. A 21st Century

Education System must prepare learners to be fully functional in a rapidly changing digital environment. My Ministry has set out on some ambitious targets for technology in education, that are in keeping with the Government’s broader vision for improving sustainable and equitable access to technology, while improving student performance, opportunities for lifelong learning and increasing opportunities for employment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services. The newly ratified ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia by this Government, clearly outlines the guiding philosophy that shaped the development of the policy document. Our vision for “A literate, creative, productive, inclusive and competitive society engendered though the use of appropriate digital technologies” is undergirded by a set of values and principles that place Equity, Access, Creativity, Capacity Building, Partnership and Community Development in sharp focus. The strategic framework stands on the four Policy Priority Areas of Gender Equity, Student Success, Accessible and Affordable Education for All and Community Development. This document clearly articulates the policy statements under each of these four Policy Priority Areas. As a guide, this policy and strategy outlines what my Ministry believes is the best path to achieving sector wide and national goals for ICT in Education. Consistent with the Education Sector Development Plan (2015 – 2020), the principle herein is the same, as this policy espouses “education as the vehicle for economic and social change.” My Ministry is fully cognizant of Saint Lucia’s context, the implications of the cost of technological resources and capacity development. For these reasons, the strategy embraces the smart use of technology to lower cost and develop sustainable gains by leveraging technology in ways that make optimal use of available resources.

Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert I am thankful for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) for guiding and supporting the development process of this ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia. Their continued support will no doubt, be very valuable in helping to realize many of this policy’s strategic goals. The staff of the Ministry and I are very grateful for the generous contributions of the many stakeholders who participated during the consultation period. Let me also thank the Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, Hon. Douglas Chen for the recent grant contribution in the sum of EC$2,500,000.00 to the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development. This grant will indeed further enhance our developmental thrust of ICT in Education in Saint Lucia. As the Minister responsible for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, I am pleased to endorse and adopt the new guide and framework for the integration of ICT in Education Policy and Strategy in Saint Lucia. I acknowledge that there have been other attempts before to adopt or implement similar policies. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed for my Ministry to embark on a more surefooted approach to the effective integration of ICT. I therefore pledge my commitment and my Ministry’s support to achieving every policy outcome in this ICT in Education Policy and Strategy. I would like to thank the ICT Unit at my Ministry, the teachers, the principals and other partners who have not only welcomed this new policy, but have embraced it, recognizing that it is another means towards the development of a Saint Lucia, that is more competitive and progressive. The Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development will continue to pursue all of the tenets and resources which will help us in the fulfillment of our #EducateSaintLucia campaign.


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Saint Lucia’s ICT in Education Policy

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he Cabinet of Ministers on Monday January 29, 2019 adopted and endorsed the ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia (2019 – 2022).

The realization of this new ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia came as a result of an important cooperative effort of the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The development process for this policy framework began in 2017 with both technical and financial assistance from COL. The consultation process involved engagements with a broad cross section of stakeholders that included but was not limited to Ministry Officials, Public Service Officers, representatives of the corporate sector, teacher educators, principals, teachers and students. The ICT in Education Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia (2019 – 2022) is designed to support both the goals of the National ICT Strategy and the broader vision of the Government of Saint Lucia for leveraging ICT as a driver of growth and development. The timing of the adoption of this policy and strategy is fortuitous as the document will also help provide a clear outline and context for the Department of Education’s e-Education drive. Many of the elements of the policy and strategy reflect the mandate of an education system in the 21st Century. The policy places focus on some important themes including, gender equity, student success, Early Childhood Education, Special Needs Education, TVET, Open Educational Resources (OER) and affordable and accessible, quality education, to mention a few.

The policy is organized into several sections. • Section 1 provides the rationale for the need for an ICTE policy for Saint Lucia. It is inconceivable that effective education in a digital age can take place without leveraging the capability of ICT. • Section 2 outlines what is referred to as the policy success model (PSM), articulating the guiding philosophy of ICTE, including vision, mission and values. • Section 3 outlines the strategic framework for the ICTE policy, describes the strategic policy priority areas (PPAs) and enablers, and presents a policy strategy map as a logic model. • Section 4 looks at the strategic policy results, including seven policy priority areas (Gender Equity, Special Needs Learners, STEM Disciplines, Early Childhood Education, TVET, Digital Citizenship and Community Development). • Section 5 outlines the policy enablers covering several important dimensions, which include: infrastructure and connectivity; teaching, learning and assessment; management and administration; human resources and capacity building; open educational resources; online learning and licensing; policy governance; and e-waste. • Section 6 presents the implementation strategy for the policy and identifies key activities to be performed, the resources needed and the assumptions.

Philosophical statements: ● Accessibility to and utilisation of knowledge are fundamental to national development. ● All students must have access to modern computer-based tools to make viable contributions to society. ● ICTE facilitates lifelong learning as well as new and innovative ways of thinking. ● The effective deployment of ICTE can help to democratise education, thereby promoting equity and education for all. ● The integration of ICT in the education system has significant potential for positively impacting Saint Lucia’s economic growth. ● Knowledge creation and development and the assimilation and utilisation of indigenous knowledge are also essential to citizens’ development. ● The integration of ICTE will increase the creation of knowledge and technologies, in particular software solutions and information systems that are relevant and instrumental in the development processes of all sectors of society. ● ICT using innovative methods allows students greater control over their learning and thus enables them to develop skills at their own level and pace. ● The potential of all individuals, including learners with special needs, adult learners, etc., can be enhanced through the effective use of ICT. ● ICT can promote co-creation in education amongst students, between students and teachers, and amongst teachers. Co-creation of digital resources can without difficulty be scaled beyond national boundaries. ● The utilization of computerized management tools can strengthen the institutional capacity of the MOE, district education offices and schools. ● The implementation and sustenance of ICT projects in the education system must be done by a partnership approach involving the community, private and public organisations, and funding agencies. ● ICT can help to lower the costs associated with the delivery of quality education. ● ICTE prepares students to be ready for the digital world. ● Technology can be used to make the teaching–learning process more interactive and engaging, leading to improved learning outcomes. ● ICT can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of educational delivery.


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Google Apps for Education

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In 2017 Saint Lucia introduced Google Apps for Education to the school system here. “Google Apps is an online platform of a suite of software inclusive of Google Sheets, Google Drive, Google Docs. Essentially by signing up Google allows us to assign email addresses for every student and every school administration on island,” says joshua Vernor Information Systems Manager – Ministry of Education. The use of such an App would cost US$2 per user per month. But Google has offered the platform for free to education and schools. “What would happen initially is that teachers and principals would inform parents via email with information on the students email address, password and domain name, informing that going forward notices will be sent via email. What this does is permit schools to save on the cost of paper to print notices for each child. In addition some parents want to be in the know and want to receive notices directly. We do however recognize that not all parents would have e-mail access so in such instances the school would still have to print notices,” Vernor explains.

The suite features;

Google Apps also permit schools to collaborate via Google Drive. According to Vernor; “teachers can drop their content there and allow others to have access while some schools are using it to do their scheme books. They can give access to teachers, the DEO so it makes collaboration on documents easier and allows us to move away from the paper wasting and having to print everything.”

• Google Sheets - Smarter spreadsheets • Smarter presentations Now, as students add content to a presentation, Explore in Google Slides dynamically offers layout suggestions that help the content shine. In just a couple of clicks, students can create polished presentations that bring their ideas to life.

All secondary schools are now on the platform with one primary school piloting Google Apps.

• Smarter scheduling Finding time to meet with other teachers can be hard, especially when the list of people and locations you’re coordinating starts to grow. Google Calendar uses machine intelligence to help you easily find a time when invitees are free, Calendar will suggest times across the group where the conflicts are easiest to resolve.

Google Apps for Education arrived on the scene ten years ago with a vision to help teachers and students share and learn together in innovative ways. It is designed with new intelligent features that make work easier and bring teachers and students together.

Taiwan’s Grant for ICT The Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, Hon. Douglas Chen, presented a cheque valued at XCD $2,500,000.00 to the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development on February 12, 2019. Ambassador Chen presented this very important grant to ICT in Education in Saint Lucia, to the Minister of Education Hon. Gale Rigobert. This contribution is expected to go a long way towards equipping several schools with much needed ICT infrastructure and upgrade ICT resources in schools to support new modalities of instruction and assessment. The requirement for all secondary schools to meet CXC’s e-Testing standards is but one of the reasons for this added infrastructure. More broadly however, the education sector has to respond to the demands of a digital working environment. “This kind assistance from the government and the people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will also go towards ICT in Education training for teachers, the development of digital learning content, the establishment of Smart Classrooms in each school and the maintenance of existing school ICT infrastructure. It also means that we can move from policy to action. We have started some work, but certainly the thinking is that we can roll out the smart-education classrooms across the education sector in primary and

secondary schools,” Dr. Rigobert said in accepting the grant. Ambassador, Douglas Shen, said Taipei will continue to focus on improving the education system here in Saint Lucia stating; “I am very excited because I think we brought two fundamental things together, first is education, secondly is ICT. This is what the island needs because we all know that children are our future. With this smart project we do believe that we can help improve the future of St. Lucia.” A main tenet of the Department of Education’s e-Education drive, is to ensure that each learner has access to a sufficiency of ICT resources that will help prepare him or her for meaningful participation in a modern technological society and for lifelong learning.


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Internet and ICT I

t has been said that the digital divide has created a new distinction basis in some societies, critically influencing daily operations and livelihood of persons globally. The inability to fully access the internet is creating disparity and segregation witnessed in different fields today. Cognizant of this the Government of Saint Lucia is committed to providing communities across the island with free internet access via improved community centers fitted with Computers and Internet access as well as new ICT Centers. Over the next few years the aim is to see that every community on the island has such centers that are accessible to all. Already most communities on the island have such facilities including Vieux Fort, Micoud, Soufriere, Anse La Raye, Castries and Gros Islet. Access to the internet will bring communities closer together, allow persons to access business opportunities online as well as use the internet to improve themselves in various skills and studies. Students can also have access to these facilities to assist in their studies and also allows them to explore new methods, improve their knowledge and apply what they have learnt. GINet launched H.E. Douglas Shen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, along with Honourable Stephenson King, Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, and Honourable Dominic Fedee, Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, officially launched the Government Island-Wide Network Project (GINet) on May 3, 2018 in Canaries. Ambassador Shen said in his remarks that the Government of Taiwan cooperated with Saint Lucian Government to implement the GINet Project

with the aim to reduce information gap between rural and urban areas; under this initiative a wireless internet backbone was completed and 63 Wi-Fi hotspots were installed in mostly rural areas, providing Saint Lucians with free Wi-Fi access. In December The Government Island Wide Network (GINET) WiFi Zone for Castries was then launched, again with the assistance of the people and Government of Taiwan. The free WiFi can now be accessed in the following areas in Castries: -Government Buildings (Waterfront) -Serenity Park -Derek Walcott Square -Central Market -Craft Market -Constitution Park -La Place Carenage -Pointe Seraphine -Cultural Centre -National ICT Centre/Central Library The GINet can also now be accessed in Canaries, Dennery, Micoud and Vieux Fort. The GINet is an Island-wide internet access improvement initiative which seeks to bridge the digital divide and to provide local and wireless network areas in public zones of towns and villages across Saint Lucia. This Project took 4 years, established 63 Wi-Fi hot spots among 5 administrative districts in Saint Lucia.


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Access For All! MICOUD ICT CENTER OPEN

H.E. Douglas C.T. Shen was invited by Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development to attend the official launching ceremony of Micoud ICT Access Centre on 2nd August, 2017. Ambassador Shen congratulated the people of Micoud community for having a newly built ICT Centre and said that “the Centre was completed on June last year which the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) contributed over 2 million EC dollars to the process. Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert thanked the generosity of the government and people of Taiwan and call on the community to cherish the resource and make good use of the ICT facility for education purpose. The Micoud Community ICT Access Centre will provide local people with linkage to the internet and computer-based services. It will also support education and training functions for the communities, providing low cost access to IT tutoring programs.

FIVE NEW ICT CENTERS TO OPEN IN GROS ISLET

Last year the Government of Saint Lucia announced plans to have five year ICT Centers open in the communities across Gros Islet- the most populated constituency in Saint Lucia. The ICT Centers according to Government officials will improve access to education and research. The new ICT centers will be located in the communities of La Bourne, Des Rameaux, La Feuille, Riviere Mitant, and Grande Riviere. The Grand Riviere ICT Center was officially opened on January 17, by

member of Parliament for Gros Islet, Lenard “Spider” Montoute. “ICT Centres can now be accessed in LaBourne, Desrammeaux, Lafeuille, Riviere Mitant and Grande Riviere,” he said. “We are also working towards reopening the ICT Center in Gros Islet town which will be housed at the Gros Islet Library.” Montoute said he looks forward to having young people utilizing the centers not only for recreation but also to “access educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.” “I also want to encourage the elders in these communities who may be interested in learning how to use these technologies to visit the centers,” he said.


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Global Robotics

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he First Global High School Robotics Olympiad Welcomed more than 180 Nations to Mexico City in August of 2017.

Team Saint Lucia was among more than 1,000 students participating and competing with custom-built robots in an energy-themed challenge. The robotics competition saw a different Grand Challenge of Engineering taking center stage, fostering understanding and cooperation among the global youth as they use their abilities to solve the world’s problems The second Robotics Challenge in 2018 focused on “Energy Impact,” in which shifting alliances of three nations competed to fuel power plants, initiate renewable energy plants and build a resilient transmission network in a simulated exercise.

On the Road to Mexico

This competition not only provides an opportunity for students around the world to learn and discover more about the exciting world of robotics, but also teaches the importance of working together with peers, regardless of their place of origin, creed, religion, or race. Team Saint Lucia 2017 Team Saint Lucia comprised students Reshul Narhari, Keeghan Patrick and Shergaun Roserie from the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), guided by our coach, Mr. Loewenvell Polius. THE JOURNEY Team Saint Lucia’s journey dates back to July 2016 when the three were selected to participate in a program called SPISE (Student Programme of Innovation in Science and Engineering). It is an intensive four-week summer programme for gifted high-school students who are interested in studying and exploring careers in science and engineering. It involved courses in robotics, programming, calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship, Caribbean unity and mandarin, out of which robotics seemed to catch their attention the most.

Team 758 2017

Getting things ready for the Robotics Challenge


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Olympiad Team St. Lucia was honoured to have Mr. Polius as their coach as he is a Software Developer at the Ministry of education and has much experience in the field of engineering. Advise also came from mentors Mr. Travis Halls (Web Developer), Mr. Germain M. Anthony (Curriculum Specialist in Technology Integration), Quilee Simeon(Past SALCC student), Dion Recai (SALCC student) and Ms. Giannetti George (Curriculum Officer for the Natural Sciences) who handled all non-robotics related logistics of the team. Saint Lucia ranked in the top one third at the competition ahead of many more developed countries.

Team 758 2018 with Hewanorra

TEAM SAINT LUCIA 2018 Saint Lucia participated in the 2018 annual FIRST Global Challenge – Robot Olympics under the theme “Energy Impact”. Team Saint Lucia was one of over 150 countries participating in this Olympiad style international competition. The team comprised Anna Kaye Boodho of Vieux-Fort Comprehensive Secondary A-level Department, Dion Racai and Taton David of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Division of Arts, Science and General Studies. The students was accompanied by team manager Giannetti George, the Curriculum Officer of National Sciences. Their “robot” named Hewanorra was able to perform several tasks. These included being able to lift a claw, open the claw to grab boxes, turn the claw, move boxes using a conveyer system, as well as spin a wind turbine. And of course it could drive, turn left, right, forward and straight.”

Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert paid a courtesy visit to the event in support

During a demonstration “Hewanorra was able to lift boxes placing them down on chairs and in the hands of onlookers. According to the team, the robot was made with the tournament’s 2018 theme in mind—“Energy Impact”—and meets all the requirements set by FIRST Global.


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n March of 2018 The Ministry of Education received funding for a pilot project in Computer Coding and Robotics. The Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, is extremely grateful for the generous assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and for the support of the Community, Family and Youth Resiliency (CFYR) program for the Computer Coding and Robotics pilot program. The program, according to Minister for Education Hon. Gale Rigobert is a very exciting and meaningful endeavor for the Ministry and for Saint Lucia. “It is consistent with the Ministry’s ambitious Education Reform. The world keeps changing, and is changing at a rapid pace. The Education System itself, therefore, must change and must adapt, if it is to remain relevant in the business of preparing young people for productive and rewarding lives,” she says.

Computer Coding &

Robotics Program

The Minister went on to state that traditional approaches to learning and instruction are no longer sufficient, adding that learning institutions must now cater to an ever more diverse, and differentiated group of learners. The Ministry she says is aware that it has to facilitate new and modern approaches, to help achieve its goals for the educational advancement of our nation. “Teachers have to be trained with new skills. Pedagogical approaches that are more student-centered must be implemented. Assessment regimes must integrate technology and new methodologies,” Hon. Gale Rigobert explained. The Ministry is, therefore, very fortunate for this partnership with USAID and CFYR. The four schools in this pilot program have received training for selected teachers, and will receive very valuable technological equipment, to support the teaching of Computer Coding and Robotics.

Students at Christmas Coding Camp

The four schools are Grande Riviere Secondary, Bocage Secondary, Beane Field Secondary and Soufriere Secondary. “There is considerable anecdotal evidence that suggests that students respond well in subjects that integrate new technologies and involve programming of robots. Teaching robotics is not an end in and of itself, but robotics can help address the growing demand for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Moreover, robotics facilitates learning by students with very diverse learning abilities,” the Minister says. In October of 2018, eight months later, the schools participated in a “Code4Fun Computer Coding and Robotics Competition and Hackathon”. “I am pleased with the level of excitement that has been generated by this pilot program at the participating schools,” the Minister said. The Ministry of Education she says is presently engaging with agencies such as CariSTEM in an effort to introduce teachers and students to the Raspberry Pi computing platform in support of STEM instruction and learning. “I believe that with some more sustained effort that we will be well on our way to establishing Computer Coding and Robotics in our school curriculum,” Minister Rigobert said.

Participants at CSF coding workshop launch

She went on to say that it was important to appreciate that the activities of Computer Coding and Robotics do not exist merely for student engagement and excitement. “An education for the 21st century inevitably means, teaching coding in schools. We live in a digital world. Computer programs undergird everything, for example, business, sports, aviation, recreation, science and medicine. Our students, therefore, if they are to maximize on the opportunities available in this information age, or in a knowledge economy, or e-economy, must be outfitted with the skills that will enable them to do so,” she expressed. Appreciation and thanks was expressed to USAID, CFYR and the hard-working Ministry of Education Staff. Corporate sponsors for the project were Digicel Saint Lucia Limited, the Saint Lucia National Lotteries Authority, the Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program, LUCELEC, Computer World, Blue Waters Saint Lucia Limited, Star Publishing Limited, Calabash TV, Bel Jou Hotel and Bay Gardens Resorts.

ICT Thymio Coding Robot session


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Teacher and Leadership The Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) hosted a three-day trainers’ workshop for the Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA) pilot program. The training workshop was held May 28 to May 30, 2018 at the Bel Jou Hotel in Castries. Education Minister Hon. Dr. Gale T.C. Rigobert addressed the inaugural session of the event and declared the event launched. The Minister underscored the importance of this activity and highlighted its congruence with both the Ministry’s and government’s policies for ICT. The C-DELTA program is a long-term program of the Commonwealth of Learning that is aimed at promoting digital education environments in Commonwealth nations. The program involves activities to assess digital education competencies of students and teachers, provide training opportunities for teachers, and to monitor student achievement. A critical aim of the C-DELTA program is to foster leaders who can demonstrate how to use information and communication technologies (ICT) effectively and who will influence others around them to use digital technology appropriately and effectively for learning (and earning) and for supporting sustainable development. Saint Lucia is the first in the region to host a C-DELTA training workshop.

CDELTA Workshop

CDELTA workshop participants

Participants in the workshop came from all the secondary schools on island, the National Skills Development Centre and from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC). Upon completion of the workshop, the participants were expected to return to their learning institutions as leaders who will champion the cause of Digital Education among their peers and their students. The C-DELTA program offers an online platform for all learners and teachers to enroll in a self-paced course. Workshop participants will encourage and guide others as they endeavor to improve on their digital education. Workshop facilitator, Royston Emmanuel is a practitioner and tutor in Technology in Education, as well as the eLearning Specialist at SALCC. The workshop was also co-facilitated by Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Education Specialist: eLearning at the Commonwealth of Learning. Germain Anthony, Curriculum Specialist: Technology Integration in the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations is the coordinator for the program in Saint Lucia.

L-R: Royston Emmanuel practitioner and tutor in Technology in Education, eLearning Specialist SALCC. Germain Anthony, Curriculum Specalist, Technology Integration, Department of Education, Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Education Specialist: eLearning at the Commonwealth of Learning and Hon. Gale Rigobert Minister for Education, Innovation and Gender Relations.

The Central Library falls under the portfolio of the Ministry of Education and is the headquarters of the public library system in Saint Lucia. Its mission is “to provide quality library and information services to all citizens and to develop programs that will help them to become independent users and lifelong learners”. In the past few years the Central Library as well as several libraries around the island has seen improvements not only to their physical structure but how they operate as well. The Saint Lucia Library a few years ago was fitted with a computer room and recently the Library’s website has been developed to make it more interactive.

for a book. Once it is available it will show up and indicate which of the Libraries here besides the Central Library where that book is available. If you are a member you can then reserve that book and go pick it up,” Vernor explained. The library software he says also allows for the printing of membership cards.

“We were able to fit the Library with software to help with their online cataloguing,” says Joshua Vernor of the ICT Unit, Ministry of Education. “What this now means is that users can go to the page, www.slupl.edu.lc and search

The Saint Lucia public Library website also has a number of resources for students including Common Entrance, Common Middle and CXC past papers and database research tools.


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Decade of research & technology launched

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he Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development has partnered with key stakeholders within the public and private sectors to formally launch the Decade of Research and Innovation (2019-2029) under the theme: “Unleashing our Creativity, Crafting Our Destiny.” The overarching aim of this Decade of Research and Innovation is to stimulate and develop a culture of innovative scientific thinking and analysis with nationally driven research studies designed to offer sustainable solutions to socio-economic issues within our local context, and foster apolitical, sustainable and evidence-based decision making. This Decade of Research and Innovation aims to reduce our prolonged reliance on metropolitan countries to offer solutions to issues that impact us as a Small Island Developing States, as well as maximise opportunities for infusing innovations across the national economy that foster sustainable national development and visionary problem-solving.

Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, in 2018 welcomed the challenge by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, to declare a decade of research and innovation to coincide with Saint Lucia’s 40th anniversary of independence. Minister Rigobert welcomed the challenge and has since then been championing Saint Lucia’s efforts towards this decade. Throughout the planning for the launch, Minister Rigobert has been appealing to all Saint Lucians to see themselves as innovators with infinite potential to contribute to the development of the people of Saint Lucia. Some of the key outputs of the decade will include a database of local research, lecture series for sharing information on local research and an innovation hub for aspiring entrepreneurs. The launch was held on Feb. 18, at the Finance Administrative Centre (5th Floor), at Pointe Seraphine, Castries.

MOE YOUTUBE Channel The Youtube link is : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAs6lEKHqNIf5dgduxP92gw

The Communications Unit of the Ministry of Education recently launched its Youtube Channel. By clicking on the link to the channel users will find informative videos produced by the Communications Unit on the work of the entire ministry. The channel is still being populated, however users are asked to go online and subscribe to the channel and please like the videos, share and circulate the videos, so the department can become more relevant on Youtube.


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SMART CLASSROOMS ON THEIR WAY W

ith the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) moving to digitize some of its courses, Education Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert said some of the island’s technical drawing classrooms will be transformed into what she described as “smart classrooms”. The process started last December as overall repairs got underway during the Christmas break. According to the Minister, the move will be done not only in secondary schools but at the Primary level while there are also plans for a pilot ICT project involving early childhood. “Some of what we have unveiled not only regarding the Equip Project but also with respect to the smart classroom initiative, you will realize that the conversion of classrooms into smart classrooms is not limited to secondary schools,” she stated. “It will be foolhardy for any policymaker wanting to cure the digital divide in this country and to raise the employability of our students to restrict the smart classroom initiative to secondary schools only.” A number of schools on the island are being furnished with Smart boards or white boards in an effort to move away from the “talk and chalk” as educators put it and to make learning more interesting, fun and interactive. At its simplest, an interactive whiteboard allows you to project an image and 'interact' with it by writing on it or moving it around. The SMART Board

is connected to a computer and works with a projector. The projector displays what is open on the computer and, rather than using a mouse or keyboard (although you can use those also), the SMART Board is a touch screen, which allows you to manipulate anything on the screen using your fingers. It is similar to how you would use a tablet or iPad. Special pens are included in a SMART Board to make writing in different colors quick and easy.

Saint Lucia joins Caribbean in E-Testing

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n 2017, the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) reported success as it officially launched its Electronic Testing Service to the region.

Some 500 candidates from seven countries – Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat and St Lucia – tested the online initiative which allowed students to use a computer or an electronic device to sit their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Paper 1 (Multiple Choice) examination in more than a dozen subjects. Barbados’ Education Minister Ronald Jones gave thumbs up to the initiative which CXC said “would bring regional learners up to speed with worldwide test-taking practices and provide them with the flexibility to interact with images, video, audio and other resources during their examinations”. He told the brief launch there were no real challenges with the initial offering. Jones noted that candidates, invigilators and education officials were happy with the results and he was confident it would be embraced as more countries get on board. CXC has assured that its e-testing platform will adhere to world-class security standards, which will guarantee the integrity of the test taking.

Meanwhile, the ICT Unit of the Ministry of Education has developed a platform for local testing. This platform allows students to register online and complete multiple choice exams. The platform also allows for the scoring of the exams and can also provide valuable statistics to educators on the outcome of the exams.


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16 Mar 2019

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ict initiatives at a glance • Internet Access All schools are being provided with Internet and computers for use by teachers and students to make learning more interactive. • Increased Bandwidth Bandwidth at schools have been upgraded from 4 Megs to 100 megs at Secondary schools in the initial stages to facilitate the sitting of CXC exams online and to assist with instruction. The aim is for the increase bandwidth to be available to all schools by September of 2019. Under CARCIP program internet is being provided to all schools. • Content Sharing The Ministry of Education is currently working on developing content and having a repository of education tools for online use. The idea is for the MOE to make this information available to teachers and educators who can also share their own content on the platform. • TD Labs upgrade CXC has decided that it will no longer be doing manual or traditional drawings and as a result, funding was sought under the Smart schools initiative to convert 11 secondary schools that are doing traditional drawings to move to computer drawings and auto cards. • Ministry In-house E-Testing The ICT Unit at the MOE has developed a platform where schools could register students online for exams. The MOE can now print answer sheets and take them to exam rooms to be graded. This will be done for all national exams while common entrance and CXC will be graded regionally. • Schools Websites All schools are being assisted with developing their own websites which will be manned by the schools themselves. The idea is to give the schools an Online presence where information can be shared with parents and the wider community. • Online Scholarships and Bursary Applications The Ministry of Education has developed a platform whereby persons can apply for scholarships and bursaries online. Applicants then have the ability to track the process online.

top 10 internet safety rules! 1) CHECK LAWS Many sites have age restrictions and you’re not allowed to sign up for an account if you’re not old enough (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Musical.ly etc.). Most of the images, text, and videos you find online are protected by copyright unless stated otherwise. This means you can’t reuse them. 2) TALK Talk to your parents about what you’re doing online and let them know when you’re going on the internet. If anything you see online makes you feel uncomfortable, worried, sad, or unsure, leave the site and talk to a trusted adult. 3) FRIENDS Don’t add people as online friends unless you know them in real life or have parent permission. Never arrange to meet an online friend without talking to a parent. Don’t send personal information or photographs to an online friend. Never send private photos or videos of yourself to anyone (whether you know them in real life or not). 4) PRIVACY Keep your personal information private online. Including your full name, Address, Phone number, Passwords etc. 5) REPUTATION Protect your digital footprint and don’t publish anything online that you wouldn’t want all your friends, family, teachers, and future employers to see. 6) QUESTION You cannot believe everything you read or see online. Publishing online is easier than ever so there is a lot of inaccurate or biased information out there. 7) CYBERBULLYING Know what cyberbullying is and tell someone if you think it’s happening to you or others. Cyberbullying is when someone picks on you, annoys, embarrasses, hurts, or threatens you repeatedly using technology, such as the internet or a phone. 8) ACCOUNTS, PASSWORDS, AND USERNAMES Think carefully when choosing your username for your online accounts and email address. Passwords Being a digital citizen means you’ll need to have a lot of passwords. Tempting as it is, avoid using the same password for all your accounts. You need to use a password that you can remember but is not easy to guess. 9) MANNERS Be polite and respectful online just as you would be offline. Always treat others the way you like to be treated. 10) UNPLUG Life is all about balance. It’s not good for our health and wellbeing to be online all the time. Balance screen time with green time. Get outdoors, move, play, and interact face-to-face.


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