Caribbean ‘smart’ classrooms launched

A series of technologically advanced classrooms designed to benefit thousands of students and educators in schools across the Caribbean has been launched following a commitment from international telecommunications company Samsung to the Organization of American States (OAS) and Virtual Educa.

The OAS said the initiative follows the lead taken by the government of Trinidad and Tobago and its Ministry of Education to establish “smart” classrooms in partnership with domestic and international information and communication technology (ICT) partners.

“What Trinidad & Tobago is doing is commendable,” said OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, who was in Trinidad and Tobago to launch the seconnd Edition of Virtual Educa Caribbean.

“They have sourced partnerships with the private sector, they have been persistent with their follow up and execution, and now they are sharing their experiences and best practices with neighbors in the region,” he added. “This is a practical model, and the OAS and Virtual Educa support this initiative.”

The OAS said more than 16,000 students and educators attended the two-day event earlier this week.

In addressing stakeholders at the opening ceremony, Ramdin said he was pleased to note that education continued to be a priority in the Caribbean, and called on stakeholders across the political divide to continue to work together to ensure the education system produced “analytical, critical and creative thinkers, able to compete with counterparts from around the world.”

Ramdin also called for more “effective and practical methods to assess student progress,” saying that “coping mechanisms have become critical in today’s high pressure environment.”

He also suggested the consideration of specific Caribbean Development goals and more collaboration at the Inter-American level to “effectively pool, assess, recommend and source assistance for education projects, through a specialized agency.”

During his visit, Ramdin held meetings with Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Foreign Minister Winston Dookeran and Planning Minister Bhoe Tewarie.

Ramdin said Trinidad and Tobago will also work with the OAS to host the Americas Competitiveness Forum, in October 2014, which is expected to feature the participation of business leaders from around the world and government representatives from across the hemisphere.