PR – The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information informs all stakeholders that there is no change to the schoolbooks programme for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Ministry further informs the public that the Fortuna Pix e-books are being introduced this school year as supplementary resources. Parents and guardians are therefore advised to obtain all print books that they can, in accordance with the booklist(s) received, as per usual. Parents who utilise the schoolbooks programme, are advised that additional books will not be purchased by the Ministry this year, however, books already in the system, will be re-issued to students involved in the programme. The Ministry therefore appeals to all parents to secure and return ALL books from the programme, based on the schedule, when provided by each school.
The Ministry continues to work towards introducing e-books, to meet the audio-visual needs of students, who benefit from blended learning strategies. The e-books will provide access to a vast array of relevant, subject-related supplementary content that will assist learning, at all levels, for both primary and secondary school students, with secondary school students first in line to benefit from this initiative.
It is expected that the content on the e-books – visual demonstrations, videos and interactive material, et cetera – will be used to solidify students’ understanding of their course material. E-books have been licensed for twenty (20) subject areas. The e-learning devices come equipped with interactive, CXC- related material, for test preparation.
It is important to note that the e-learning devices can be used offline, which means that no internet connection is required to access the pre-loaded material. When in an environment with internet access (like in the classroom), students will be able to access and download content from any other source that is approved by the Ministry. Parents and teachers will also be provided with a list of approved websites.
Additionally, the devices have a very long battery life, which will generally allow students to use them for at least one day. Students, particularly those without, or with limited access to a laptop, tablet or desktop computer at home, can now have a reliable device to access needed information and the means to communicate remotely with teachers and fellow students, in the interest of learning. The MSTAR platform, a Grenadian learning platform, which was commissioned in 2020, is currently zero-rated by DIGICEL. This means that there is no data access cost and, with the use of the new devices, students will be afforded easy access.
The MESH project, which provides broadband internet to all schools and the CARCIP project, which provides internet access points, are all part of the drive to ensure that easy access to information is a reality.
E-books are expected to be piloted in secondary schools in September 2020 and graded content should be accessible to all students, in both primary and secondary schools, from September 2021. A shipment of tablets for primary school students is expected, by the end of August, and based on the time projected for configuration, the devices should be available for those students towards the end of the Michaelmas Term.
The Ministry expresses a heartfelt thank you to all stakeholders who, in one way or another, are demonstrating confidence in and lending support to its e-learning agenda and recommits to the ideal that every learner should succeed.