By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas Telecommunications Company donated 2,500 tablets in support of the Ministry of Education's digital transition for public-school systems.
Garfield Sinclair, BTC chief executive officer, stressed education is the foundation for building the country's future society on the side lines of a MOE conclave on Monday.
Mr Sinclair said: "A digital country requires digitally inspired education so today we’ve announced the fact that we are ahead of schedule in connecting 127 schools and giving them high speed count activity to the internet. It’s actually an excellent private and public partnership because we are really connecting these schools to the existing government of The Bahamas.
"At the end of this what we’re (going to) have are students who will hopefully be well advance as part of this digital education process. We know that access to the internet has an inextricable link to GDP growth and it also equips young minds for a digital economy. So, we are talking about eventually hopefully facilitating at schools but smart cities, smart government and literally driving the Bahamas into the 21st century."
Mr Sinclair said advancing can't happen without the "connectivity we are providing".
He noted: "It’s not just connectivity as you heard we are also going to provide 2500 tablets. You (got) to have the devices to connect to the internet and while students…are well advanced with respect to using this technology we have to bring teachers and administrators up to speed."
The Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson said the technology goals for the Ministry of Education are very ambitious.
Mrs Wilson said: "...I’m also pleased that BTC is going to donate 2500 tablets for our schools however, the BTU alone has 4,000 members so we want them to add some more tablets to that grouping."
"I must say that the union has been in the forefront pushing and recommending in our various agreements we would have advocated for technology in the schools and ensuring that we have smart schools."
During his remarks at the Ministry of Education's conclave, Mr Lloyd said that on September 9, 2018 the ministry launched its $17M technology upgrade with the signing of a contract with the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation for laying of fiber optic cables and capability in a number of our schools, satellite offices and other buildings.
He said: "Our students and educators will be able to access archives of lessons and global library resources. All of our schools will be fully computerized ‘smart schools.’ Already we committed $2M to introduce tablets to our pre-schoolers throughout the country.
"Already 2,725 Amazon Fire Tablets with the relevant software, 123 laptops, 133 projectors and 123 carts have already been distributed to primary and preschools in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Long Island, Andros, Cat Island, Abaco and Eleuthera. We want to ensure that technology-driven lessons throughout our schools becomes the norm rather than the exception."