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Effective Use of ICT at the Tertiary Level in Jamaica and the Caribbean: Are We Ready?

Publication Date: 
December 2009

The importance of information and communication technology in education cannot be overemphasized. There is no doubt that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a prominent mechanism for the delivery of education at the tertiary level internationally. Educators in the Caribbean have witnessed significant increase in offerings in several areas of education by off-shore universities and other tertiary level institutions in recent times. A common mechanism employed by these institutions is ICT. Many question the effectiveness of this delivery system in relation to our readiness as a nation and region to access and use these systems.
In 2000, the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) successfully implemented its on-line teaching platform, the Virtual University (VU) system, and has since utilized this sytem to deliver on-line courses at the tertiary level, namely, the Masters in Education Programme at the University of the West Indies. More recently, in 2006, the JBTE implemented a wireless wide area network to link all teachers colleges in Jamaica. This system would be used by the colleges to deliver courses that are common to several colleges, with the use of one master teacher and perhaps tutors to assist in the delivery process. It was also anticipated that the system would facilitate meetings that in the past required significant travelling and its associated costs.
This paper will discuss these ICT systems implemented by the JBTE in relation to the expectations of modern ICT systems.

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