Kamla: Education Ministry's digital plan 'copy and paste' of UNC programmes

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - File photo -
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - File photo -

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar does not think the Education Ministry’s new digital transformation programme – MoE Access is revolutionary.

In fact, she said the programme is not new, but instead, “a copy and paste of UNC programmes under new names.”

The ministry launched the programme on Tuesday.

It has three sub-sections: services, systems and solutions. It offers online teacher registration, teacher-training toolkits, human-resources support, school infrastructure/issue management, e-books, e-testing and exam results, among other things.

The Prime Minister praised the programme, saying, “What these events have shown us is that digital technology, when appropriately deployed and made accessible to everyone, has the power to positively transform our lives for the better.”

But in a press release on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar said the government “destroyed” her administration’s laptop, smart classroom and Connect and Learn programmes, and eliminated the Ministry of Science and Technology. She said this was done out of spite.

“The Rowley government is now finally adopting a policy of incorporating digital technology in education,” she said.

“It is unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of young people have been left eight years behind, and the digital divide has widened due to Rowley’s malice and desire to malign the policies of the former government.”

But she said she is “heartened” that the government has now decided to embrace these programmes after “tarnishing the UNC’s many initiatives” for many years.

“The former UNC Government introduced the eConnect and Learn program, which was designed to facilitate the transformation of education in TT through the use of contemporary instructional strategies and cutting-edge ICT solutions.

“TT was the regional centre for virtual education in Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the OAS. We partnered with a major tech company for 20 schools to be equipped with 21st-century smart classrooms.”

She said children were deprived of learning opportunities during the height of the covid19 pandemic, which pains her.

“Had these programs been continued and expanded as it was envisioned by the UNC government I led, our children would be in a better position today.

Describing herself as "passionately devoted" to their education, she said: "I promise the young people of TT that when the UNC forms the next government, we will not act like the PNM, and destroy this initiative out of political spite. Unlike the PNM, the UNC will always place the education of children as the highest priority.”

The UNC’s plans for education, she said, include amending curricula to incorporate new subjects such as coding and “other digital skills.

“In particular, we need to build a workforce for jobs in the highly-skilled fields of the fifth industrial revolution such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, genetics and biotechnology.”

She said the children of TT deserve better, and that a UNC-led government will focus on providing opportunities for them “to grow and thrive in the digital economy.”


"Kamla: Education Ministry’s digital plan ‘copy and paste’ of UNC programmes"

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