The effort to ensure that public secondary schools in Antigua have adequate Internet service has been undertaken, as the Ministry of Education plans a meeting with the supplier.
The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has been mandated by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda to supply Internet services within the schools. Clare Browne, director of Education told OBSERVER media, in a brief interview that the ministry will be engaging with the statutory corporation in an effort to move the process forward.
His comment follows a reminder from the teacher’s union last week that Internet connectivity is critical to the teaching and learning process, and that poor Internet connectivity may threaten a major computer project.
Last Thursday, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, Ashworth Azille, said teachers and students were being robbed of a very vital tool in the teaching and learning process – the internet.
He said the Education Ministry does most of its communication with teachers and other administrative staff via email and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is now requesting that it be sent School-Based Assessments – SBAs – and other documentation, electronically.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Cordel Josiah, past president of the Rotary Club of Antigua, also revealed that, due to poor Internet connectivity, Antigua and Barbuda may lose out
on an international project aimed at helping improve teachers’ use of technology in the classroom. Josiah is project leader of the Computers of the World initiative, a programme made possible through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Antigua, the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club of Washington State and the Mill Reef Fund.
The programme, which has been ongoing for quite some time, has been cancelled for 2018.
“They have decided that unless there is improvement in the Internet system in Antigua and Barbuda that they cannot really continue the programme. This is quite sad because teachers have benefited, so we are really hoping to have some longevity to this, but it cannot be realised unless there is some improvement,” Josiah said.
John Martinka, a member of Belleview Breakfast Rotary Club of Washington State, also stated in a letter to OBSERVER, that the Ministry of Education has promised to put broadband service in the dozen schools where rotary had trained or were training teachers to use technology to teach more effectively.
He noted that nothing has happened despite numerous promises, the expression of frustration by teachers, bragging by the Minister of Education about how fibre was in school and a recent letter to the Prime Minister as well as the Governor General.
Martinka also indicated in the letter dated May 12, that some schools have fibre, just no connection to the Internet.