It is significant that the government of St Lucia in collaboration with various agencies including donor and the private sector is making strides in advances in computer technology in teaching of various subjects in Primary Schools.
Further, it is commendable that in addition to the introduction of computers in schools a new television station called the In Time Education Television (IETV) has been established as a not-for-profit Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) funded by viewers and corporate sponsors.
The provision of every primary school with a 42 inch flat screen television with teaching programs in conformity with the content of the curriculum of the school in laudable.
The government of St Lucia, Ministry of Education and persons, partners, and institutions contributing to this far-reaching integrated program must be congratulated for this will contribute to St. Lucia’s quantum leap in the application of Science and Technology (S&T) to human resource development and the development of the Nation.
It is envisaged that, over time, educational programs will be on-line through 365 days a year with well defined programmatic subject areas during the school year and through vacation periods. This would offer an enormous opportunity for parents and the household in general to participate and become involved in continuing education on a national basis.
In my address to the University of Suriname, Faculty of Technology in 2000, I stated that the greatness of nations is a reflection of their advances in S&T in development and I have continued to espouse this in my addresses at high schools, colleges, universities, and institutions of higher learning and in my recent address to the Executive Board of UNESCO.
The St Lucia initiative will go a long way in the advancement of our nation, but I wish to take this further by recommending that this technological thrust be introduced to our farming community and in the extension of new technologies and required disciplines which are necessary for our competitiveness in the international market place.
This is also applicable/relevant to many other areas related to our national development where there is need for a stronger technological base and where we need to catch up where we are lagging behind.
In this context, I recommend that we take advantage of our Diaspora in broadening (taking advantage of) our resource base, to include our many scientists and technical personal. The formation of a National Council for S&T to include the Diaspora would add to the above in many different ways.
In my report to the Government of St Lucia on Educational Priorities of February 1980, in Chapter 4 entitled “Towards a New Philosophy of Education for St Lucia” I stated that “Illiteracy (must) be erased as a Matter of National Urgency” so that “all persons can attain a better understanding of society, the implications and responsibilities of independence and interdependence in a regional and world framework”
The St Lucia initiative in the introduction of technology in schools, ultimately applied to all sectors of our community should foster an all embracing dynamism in the development of our nation.
Editor’s Note: Edsel Edmunds is the former Ambassador of St Lucia to the UN, OAS, and US.