Smart classrooms – integral to creating equity and access to education

second smart classroom launched

The Ministry of Education is on a mission to transform the way education is delivered across the country with the launching of another smart classroom. The smart classroom was opened earlier this week at Queen’s College by Hon. Priya Manickchand.

Education Minister, Hon Priya Manickchand sit in during a class at the launch of the smart classroom at Queen’s College

During an interview with the Department of Public Information, Chief Education Officer, Dr Marcel Hutson stated that the launch is in keeping with the Ministry’s strategic education development plan.

“It focuses on equity, quality and lifelong learning as these are areas that are fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the launch of the smart classroom is integral to the whole notion of creating equity and access.

Equity in particular to the education sector you’ll recognise that we have a multiplicity of schools across the regions, particularly hinterland region also and we have found that in order to reach these children in a meaningful way, this will play a fundamental role in ensuring those children quality attention.”

Dr Hutson noted that while this project has been on the PPP/C Government’s agenda for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of alternative classroom engagements. The smart classrooms are viewed as a “mechanism of impacting students from a distance”.

He said a “pivotal” part of the programme is the development of a timetable. The education official emphasised that the launching of smart classrooms will in no way affect the performance of teachers in schools

“A timetable in Region One may not be applicable to the timetable in Region Two and basically what we intend to do also is to provide supplemental kind of lessons… In other words, we are not taking over wholly and solely but we will be providing support information, support material, so that we can really build up our students in those respective regions,” Dr Hutson said.

A blended approach is being utilized with some students being physically present in the classroom while others join virtually

While lessons can be pre-recorded and showed at a later time, the aim of the smart classrooms is to provide a space which facilitates more teacher-student engagement.

“A smart classroom basically creates the atmosphere as if it’s a face-to-face interaction between teacher and student in real time. So, you could be in Waramadong and I could be at NCERD. While I am teaching, a student could ask for clarity on a particular point and that will be explained in real time. With recorded lessons you don’t have that luxury, where the teacher could actually interact with the students in real time and I think that’s a beautiful thing about this smart classroom. This kind of rapport and interaction that gives life to teaching,” he explained.

The smart classroom at Queen’s College will be made available to Master Teachers who are not attached to the school. They will use the facility to virtually engage students from various schools in the event that the students need additional assistance with particular subjects.

This is the second smart classroom to be launched in a public school; the first was commissioned in 2014 at North Ruimveldt Secondary. Another is located at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).


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