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Fri 3rd Mar 2017

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Digital schools under a Green government to modernise education in SVG

In the early 1940s, the British government phased out the use of slates in schools in SVG and introduced the use of paper books. The world has moved on significantly since then and it is time to phase out paper books in SVG and bring in digital schools.

The Leader of SVG Green Party, Ivan O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, says that a Green government would modernise the SVG education system and phase in digital schools with no paper books, but instead electronic books and other online educational materials.

Already, millions of children across the world are taught in digital schools. The cost is much less for parents, as there are no books to buy and all children have access to all the books they need, as they are electronic and free. At present, many children from poor families miss out on educational books, because their parents cannot afford them. With digital schools, children of the poor and the disadvantaged will benefit significantly and obtain a high level of education.

In digital schools, students are connected either through a free tablet or laptop to the school's electronic library and have access to all the textbooks needed for any class. The software also includes all sorts of note-taking and interactive features and offer children a whole new way of doing homework and studying.

A Green government would provide free wi-fi internet in all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges and throughout the country, to facilitate the introduction of digital schools in SVG and so that all children have internet access at home. This significant educational strategy would be coupled with free education from pre-school to university.

In digital schools, teachers can show a page from a digital book on an interactive whiteboard in the class and send students links to digital learning plans, assignments or a particular math problem, with the teacher's notes added in. In some of these digital schools, students have access to the Gutenberg online library which has more than 42,000 free digital books in English.

Updating the education system in SVG is crucial to provide our children with modern, high-quality education and high-quality skills training for all our people, to help eradicate illiteracy and inequality. The gap between the poor and the rich in SVG is large and this perpetuates poverty as poorer children have less access to paper books.

The world, and information, change at a faster pace nowadays. Consequently, paper books are often outdated as soon as they are printed, but with online books, children will always have up-to-date information.

Minneapolis’ Benilde-St. Margaret’s school in the United States, scrapped the 5,000 paper books in its library, but the space is proving to be more useful than ever — digitally. Now, the library is a space where children come together for creative learning. Students do research through online databases like Gale and ProQuest and get help from math and literacy coaches. Benilde’s venture comes after Barack Obama called on schools to embrace digital textbooks by 2017 as it saves money.

The point to be emphasis here, is that our economy must be driven by a highly-skilled workforce, so that our country can attract foreign investment. A bigger input in education has a positive correlation, creating a bigger output for our economy. Also, our children will have a much better chance of getting highly-paid jobs anywhere in the world.

Under mass tourism, we are being swamped by white migrants taking over our country and turning our grandchildren and great-grandchildren in to third class citizens. Our children are having their future stolen and their opportunities for highly-paid jobs stolen too.

Digital schools and free wi-fi internet is needed in SVG to give our children a better quality of life and a higher standard of living.

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