Children should be involved in ICT from young age – researcher
…sector “does not have firm plan for young children” – Ministry’s coordinator
Despite being cautioned that children, from a very tender age, should be involved in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Telecommunications Ministry on Monday said that the Ministry does not have firm plans to include the topic for younger minds.
This was explained by the Ministry’s Outreach Coordinator, Donnella Collison, who spoke on behalf of the subject Minister, Catherine Hughes, at a media conference
According to Collison, the Ministry is always evolving on its plans but does not have a firm one as it relates to ICT being introduced for children at the nursery level, although it was recommended during a presentation by a speaker at the forum.
During the presentation of the findings from two ICT programmes that were conducted last year with children, researcher, Lenandelar Singh, highlighted that students are more exposed to ICT in schools at the secondary school level. In fact, students spend the last three years in high school trying to learn to operate computers, he said.
It was against this backdrop that a call was made for ICT to be introduced to children at a young age, as they are often afraid to learn about computers when they are older.
The presenter said, “…There are still hundreds and thousands of kids that we want to reach before they get discouraged or before they get to third and fourth form in school”.
Collison, however, in response to a question posted by Guyana Times said, “We
(Telecommunications Ministry) are always evolving in how we plan and what we plan to offer (but) we don’t have a firm plan in place for the very young ages but that’s something that we’ve already began the conversation about. It’s something that we know we have to consider”.
The coordinator explained that the Ministry is fully aware that children from very tender ages are becoming involved in ICT and even detailed that five and four-year olds are involved in coding and programming activities in other nursery schools across the globe.
When asked by this publication when ICT programs or subjects will be available to children in nursery schools locally, the Telecommunications Minister clarified that this specific matter had to be dealt with by the Education Department.
“The Ministry of Education is the body that designs the curriculum,” she said.
An Education Ministry official, who was at the event on Monday, chimed in saying that the Ministry is currently working to reform the curriculum to involve such areas for younger children.
When she was asked, however, to provide a name and designation she declined.
The official only noted, “I’m sure that all of you know that the Ministry of Education is involved in the process of curriculum reform and we are in the process of looking at our curriculum, we have a whole project surrounding curriculum reform and yes IT and programming and robotics are all a part of that curriculum reform.”
She said that the Ministry is at phase three of that reform which is the actual writing of the curriculum.