CAPAM delegates impressed with Guyana’s Smart Classroom

Delegates of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) were very impressed after a demonstration of how Guyana’s Smart Classrooms work. They were participating in the 12th Biennial Conference (October 22-24, 2018) at the Guyana Marriott which was organised by CAPAM’s executive body, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada and the local organising committee headed by Permanent Secretary, Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson.

A practical demonstration
A practical demonstration

The delegates were conducted on a tour of one of the classrooms by the National Centre for Educational Resource Development’s (NCERD) Information Technology Coordinator, Dr. Marcia Thomas. She explained that the concept and blueprint for the Smart Classroom was born out of a need to meet the needs of children across the length and breadth of Guyana, especially those in the hinterland regions. It is also in keeping with Guyana’s Green agenda since the room (as well as others are powered by solar energy.

Many of the delegates were impressed by the advancements Guyana has made which are definitely contributing to improved delivery of education in Guyana. Dr. Thomas explained that prior to the implementation of the Smart Classroom, teachers were appropriately trained to deliver lessons using new technology. She also assured the visitors that this system allows the teachers conducting the lessons to maintain control of every student’s device utilized in classroom.

“With the help of the e-Government Unit, NDMA, we (are in the process of connecting all schools in Guyana to the Internet; every day we have “Master Teachers” in here teaching; and every child who (is absent from) school is able to go into Smart Class Guyana and pull up the lesson s/he missed,” she explained.

Dr. Thomas in conversation with delegates
Dr. Thomas in conversation with delegates

Dr. Thomas stated that another application is expected be launched shortly which will further enhance the smart classroom project. This app is a portal to hundreds of textbooks and other research materials for students to access free of cost.

One of the delegates, Mr. Juma Gabriel of Kenya, observed that his country had attempted to implement a similar system but was unsuccessful. After witnessing the demonstration, he said that Kenya now has a model to follow to re-start the implement of smart classrooms in his homeland.

“We have tried the same but I see why ours did not work. We gave tablets to all the pupils and within a month they were all lost. What I learnt here is about a controlled environment and the empowerment of the teachers. So I think it is a great lesson I am taking home, and I am very excited about it,” Gabriel stated.

Similar sentiments were echoed by other delegates who said that they will take the Guyana model to enhance their countries’ new education systems.

CAPAM4CAPAM was attended by some 350 delegates from around the world and was held under the theme: Transforming the Public Sector for Climate Governance. CEO Gay Hamilton, at one of the planning sessions this past March had explained the rationale behind the conference and the selection of the theme. She noted that CAPAM took a close look at how various countries are planning their agendas over the next 5 to 10 years and they noticed that climate change and particular aspects of environmental development were at the forefront of many countries’ schedules. It was a common theme and CAPAM therefore had to make it a priority for all engagements going forward.

The CAPAM Biennial Conference is designed for an international audience of senior public sector managers and administrators and offers insightful dialogue, theoretical and practical knowledge exchange and networking opportunities. Deputy Permanent Secretary, MoPT, Deborah McNichol represented this Ministry.

The previous (11th) CAPAM Biennial Conference was held in Putrajaya, Malaysia in August 2016 under the theme: Innovation: A Public Service Imperative.

Source: Isaiah Braithwaite – DPI

Images: Keno George