Questions but no answers on e-text books

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As further delays hit the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s e-textbooks initiative, educators are raising concerns over the quality of the content produced.

Richard Lewis, co-author of CaFSET (Antigua) Office Workbook, an IT text -book, told OBSERVER media that, “You just don’t write textbooks like that. You put your material together and you send the material off to CXC for vetting, and their subject panellists will look at what you’ve done and indicate to you if it’s useful for the different subject areas. That’s what I did.”

Last February, when the idea of e-books was first announced, Government Chief of Staff Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst said an Indian company, FortunaPix which had studied the Caribbean Examination Council systems and the textbooks that support the class lessons would be contracted to write the texts in an e-format.

OBSERVER media understands that the Indian company’s writers wrote partial content, and local teachers are now in the process of producing additional content, as well as vetting what the Indian firm would have written.

“You run the risk of developing content that’s not in keeping with their [CXC] standards, and when it’s time for the students to sit the exams, they’ll have inferior material presenting to CXC,” Lewis, who is also a UPP caretaker, said.

He cautioned that curriculum officers within the ministry, the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, principals and subject teachers should be consulted to successfully transition into electronic versions of textbooks.

“I’m not saying that the e-book initiative cannot work; it can work. But it has to be properly sorted out, properly planned, properly executed and that’s the problem,” Lewis said.

The e-textbooks launch should have been held in September 2016 however in November 2016 the ministry admitted that some delays hampered its implementation of the much- anticipated initiative to be piloted in five government schools.

The latest announcement from Education Minister Michael Browne came at the opening ceremony of All Saints Secondary School’s new wing, where he disclosed that the deadline was now February 20 .

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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